Verification of Rapid Refresh and High-Resolution Rapid Refresh Model Variables in Tornadic Tropical Cyclones Academic Article uri icon


  • Abstract Tropical cyclone tornadoes (TCTORs) are a hazard to life and property during landfalling tropical cyclones (TCs). The threat is often spread over a wide area within the TC envelope and must be continually evaluated as the TC moves inland and dissipates. To anticipate the risk of TCTORs, forecasters may use high-resolution, rapidly updating model analyses and short-range forecasts such as the Rapid Refresh (RAP) and High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR), and an ingredients-based approach similar to that used for forecasting continental midlatitude tornadoes. Though RAP and HRRR errors have been identified in typical midlatitude convective environments, this study evaluates the performance of the RAP and the HRRR within the TC envelope, with particular attention given to sounding-derived parameters previously identified as useful for TCTOR forecasting. A sample of 1730 observed upper-air soundings is sourced from 13 TCs that made landfall along the U.S. coastline between 2017 and 2019. The observed soundings are paired with their corresponding model gridpoint soundings from the RAP analysis, RAP 12-h forecast, and HRRR 12-h forecast. Model errors are calculated for both the raw sounding variables of temperature, dewpoint, and wind speed, as well as for the selected sounding-derived parameters. Results show a moist bias that worsens with height across all model runs. There are also statistically significant underpredictions in stability-related parameters such as convective available potential energy (CAPE) and kinematic parameters such as vertical wind shear.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Macdonald, L. M., & Nowotarski, C. J.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Macdonald, Leland M||Nowotarski, Christopher J

publication date

  • May 2023