An Evaluation of Microburst Prediction Indices for the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Station (KSC/CCAS)
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A wet-microburst event on 16 August 1994 at the Kennedy Space Centers Shuttle Landing Facility alerted forecasters from the 45th Weather Squadron 45WS, the provider of weather support to the Kennedy Space Center KSC and Cape Canaveral Air Station CCAS, to the challenges of wet-microburst prediction. Although there was no operational impact, this event caused the 45WS to revise their severe thunderstorm forecasting procedures to specifically address microbursts, resulting in the locally developed Microburst-Day Potential Index MDPI. MDPI provides a several-hour outlook of microburst potential based on the results of the Microburst and Severe Thunderstorm MIST project. The 45WS also conducted a preliminary evaluation of the Wind INDEX WINDEX for the KSCCCAS microburst forecast problem. WINDEX provides an estimate of the maximum observed gust speed that can be expected should a microburst occur. This thesis presents an evaluation of MDPI and WINDEX based on microbursts identified by Sanger 1999 in his KSCCCAS microburst climatology. A new index for assessing microburst potential is also introduced, incorporating both the MDPI and WINDEX parameters. Overall neither the MDPI nor the WINDEX performed particularly well in this application.