Characteristics of tornadoes associated with land-falling Gulf Coast tropical cyclones

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University of Alabama Libraries

Tropical cyclone tornadoes are brief and often unpredictable events that can produce fatalities and create considerable economic loss. Given these uncertainties, it is important to understand the characteristics and factors that contribute to tornado formation within tropical cyclones. This thesis analyzes this hazardous phenomenon, examining the relationships among tropical cyclone intensity, size, and tornado output. Furthermore, the influences of synoptic and dynamic parameters on tornado output near the time of tornado formation were assessed among two phases of a tropical cyclone's life cycle; those among hurricanes and tropical storms, termed tropical cyclone tornadoes (TCT), and those among tropical depressions and remnant lows, termed tropical low tornadoes (TLT). Results show that tornado output is affected by tropical cyclone intensity, and to a lesser extent size, with those classified as large in size and `major' in intensity producing a greater amount of tornadoes. Increased values of storm relative helicity are dominant for the TCT environment while CAPE remains the driving force for TLT storms.

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Geography, Meteorology