Forecasting Sea Breeze Enhanced Thunderstorms at Eglin Air Force Base: A Comparison Between Empirical Methods and the High Resolution Rapid Refresh Model
AIR FORCE INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB United States
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Summer thunderstorms pose the greatest forecast challenge for the United States Air Forces 96th Weather Flight 96WF which provides weather support for Eglin Air Force Base AFB. Located on Floridas panhandle, Eglin AFB encompasses the Department of Defenses largest range complex which covers 134,000 sq mi 347,000 sq km of water and 724 sq mi 1875 sq km of land. Due to the bases coastal location and unique coastline geometry, sea breeze is a dominant forecast consideration for thunderstorms. The 96 WF currently utilizes an empirical method, called WINNDEX, developed by former staff meteorologist Roger Winn to aid in thunderstorm forecasts. It combines the use of 12 UTC sounding data and nomograms to provide a forecast for Eglins main base area and its land range. This study sought to compare the forecasts of the High Resolution Rapid Refresh HRRR model and WINNDEX. Final results indicated HRRR forecast skill surpassed WINNDEX in most metrics which included percent correct, probability of detection, false alarm rate, bias, critical skill index, Heidke Skill Score, Peirce Skill Score, and timing error.