NWC REU 2008
May 27 - August 1



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An Analysis of the 2007-2008 Tornado Cool Season

Madison Burnett, Greg Carbin, and Joe Schaefer



The fall and winter months of 2007-2008 were particularly active in terms of tornado events and the number of tornado-related fatalities in the United States. The media portrayed the severe weather during this period in time as unusual, if not record-breaking. Journalists and reporters asked questions about the causes of such an active cool season and how this season compared with other years.


Defining “cool season” as the 6 month period from October to March, this study analyzes the 2007-2008 cool season tornado outbreaks in terms of tornado frequency, number of fatalities, and tornado strength based on Enhanced Fujita scale ratings. Data from the Storm Prediction Center’s Storm Event Database was utilized to determine the uniqueness of the 2007-2008 cool season tornado outbreaks as compared to the last 50 cool seasons. Our results will more accurately define the significance of this season with respect to the past 50 seasons in order to aid the media and other interested parties in quantifying this period of time. Trends in cool season tornado outbreaks are also investigated.

Full Paper [PDF]