SR SSD 2001-09

Technical Attachment

COMET Training Materials Related to Forecasting Convection

Joe Lamos
Assistant Director, COMET

The COMET program has made available a considerable amount of material which provides training in the area of forecasting convective storms. Three CD-ROMs and two Web-based modules previously released by COMET contain materials that address such questions as:

-What type of convective storm structures are most likely in a given environment?
-How widespread is the severe weather threat likely to be?
-How can I identify supercell storms earlier by anticipating their motions?

Determining the likely structure of isolated storms and the severe weather threats associated with each type are covered in the CD modules, "A Convective Storm Matrix" and "Anticipating Convective Storm Structure and Evolution." The latter CD contains a brief hodograph tutorial, as well as many other concepts related to isolated convective storms that may be useful for all forecasters to review. Experts who contributed to the development of these materials include Dr. Morris Weisman, Ed Szoke and Steve Keighton.

Similar treatments of squall line and bow echo formation, evolution, and the potential for damaging winds are presented in the CD module "An MCS Matrix" and the Web-based "Mesoscale Convective Systems: Squall Lines and Bow Echoes," which may be accessed at The MCS Matrix CD is patterned after the previously released "A Convective Storm Matrix" CD-ROM, and it provides learners the opportunity to explore the relationship between the squall line environment and structure and evolution of the line. The MCS Web module (which is also included on the MCS Matrix CD for user convenience) covers the conceptual models and physical processes associated with MCS morphology. Case study applications, including using the MARC signature to anticipate the onset of damaging winds, are presented. The modules reflect the expert involvement of Ron Przybylinksi and Morris Weisman in their development.

"Predicting Supercell Motion Using Hodograph Techniques" is a Webcast to be found at It features forecaster Matthew Bunkers presenting a statistically superior method for predicting supercell motion regardless of the shape or location of the shear profile on the hodograph. His technique has been adopted by the NCEP Storm Prediction Center and is based upon the method presented in the "Anticipating Convective Storm Structure" CD, but it suggests modified values determined from a rich data set of actual events.

Also available this season is a new Webcast featuring Nolan Doesken entitled, "Rain Gauges: Are They Really Ground Truth?" This 40-minute streaming video presentation discusses limitations of rain gauges in measuring heavy precipitation which often accompanies convective storms, including land-falling tropical systems.

Additional training opportunities for learning more about convective storm forecasting are also available from other sources and can be found on the MetEd Web site from the two convection-related Professional Development Series (see Numerous case study data sets from previous severe weather events are available from the NWS/COMET case study library at A new null case from spring 2000 has recently been added to the library as Case #31.

COMET welcomes comments regarding the content, instructional approach, or use of these training materials. Please contact the author at