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Air Force Weather: Barksdale Tornado A Case Study. 2d Lt Nathan Smith Weather Operations Officer 26 th Operational Weather Squadron. Approved for Public Release - Distribution Unlimited. Overview. Air Force Weather Structure Watches, Warnings, Advisories Back-up Procedures

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air force weather barksdale tornado a case study

Air Force Weather: Barksdale TornadoA Case Study

2d Lt Nathan Smith

Weather Operations Officer

26th Operational Weather Squadron

Approved for Public Release - Distribution Unlimited

overview
Overview
  • Air Force Weather Structure
  • Watches, Warnings, Advisories
  • Back-up Procedures
  • 09 April 2009: Barksdale Tornado
  • Damage
  • Resuming Operations
  • Summary
usaf structure
USAF Structure
  • Three Levels
    • Strategic: Air Force Weather Agency (AFWA)
    • Operational: Operational Weather Squadrons (OWS)
    • Tactical: Weather Flights
watches warnings advisories
Watches, Warnings, Advisories
  • Watches: forecast that event may happen
    • May require Lead Time
    • Up to 4 hours
  • Warnings: forecast that event will happen
    • Requires Lead Time
    • Up to 2 hours
  • Advisories: observed that event is happening
    • Some Observed, some require Lead Time
    • Up to 1 hour
nws vs usaf
NWS vs USAF

NWS (area forecast)

  • Severe Thunderstorms
  • Tornado
  • Flash Flood

USAF (site specific forecast)

  • Damaging Winds ≥ 50kt
  • Moderate Winds ≥ 35<50kt
  • Advisory Winds ≥ 25kt
  • Hail <3/4”
  • Hail ≥ 3/4”
  • Lightning
  • Tornado
  • Heavy Rain 2” in 12hrs
backup support
Backup Support
  • Emergency preparedness
    • COOP practiced monthly
  • Local Forecasts & WWAs
    • Handed off to Weather Flights
  • Flight Weather Briefs
    • 25th OWS Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ
  • Total Force Locations WWAs
    • 15th OWS Scott AFB, IL
barksdale tornado event
Barksdale Tornado Event
  • Severe Potential briefed as “Possible not probable”
    • Stronger dynamics to the north and strong CAP
  • Line of supercells developed over E TX along dryline
    • SCIT took storm slightly North
  • High Winds issued VIL/ET chart
    • 65 VIL/50kft indicated 42kt
  • Hail Issued SRM Storm Top Divergence
    • ~115kt STD indicated at least 1” hail
  • SRR to look for rotation
    • 95kts gate to gate
    • Hook echo formed, issued when at TX/LA border
  • Evacuated Ops Floor to basement
    • Perfect Back up Ops
barksdale tornado event2
Barksdale Tornado Event

KBAD 100330Z 36028G47KT 1 1/2SM FC OVC025CB 21/17 A2960

impacts on base
Impacts on Base
  • EF2 tornado touched down on Barksdale Blvd
  • “Bounced” over base
  • Communications knocked out for 12hrs
  • Power Outage for ~24hrs
  • Damaged dorms, signs, fitness center, guard house, multiple trees down
resuming operations
Resuming Operations
  • Resumed basic functionality ~0830L
  • Back-up generator allowed for power
  • Communications restored to Ops floor
  • System continued to pound SE CONUS
    • Issued Severe immediately out of basement
summary
Summary
  • Overview
  • Air Force Weather Structure
  • Watches, Warnings, Advisories
  • Back-up Procedures
  • 09 April 2009: Barksdale Tornado
  • Damage
  • Resuming Operations
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