What is already known:
What this study adds:
The relative performances of several mesoscale analysis systems are evaluated with regard to severe convective weather forecasting, by exploring their ability to reproduce soundings collected in pre-convective and near storm environments observed during the Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornados Experiment 2 (VORTEX2) field phase. This was done to investigate a greater use of mesoscale ensemble forecasts in the operational setting. Soundings that matched the geographical locations and release times of the VORTEX2 soundings were extracted from datasets of the Rapid Update Cycle (RUC) model, the Surface Objective Analysis (SFCOA) developed by the Storm Prediction Center, and a Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) mesoscale ensemble system, developed at the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL). Parameters and characteristics important to severe weather forecasting are extracted from the systems’ datasets at the observed sounding locations and compared to the observations. Results show that the mesoscale ensemble forecasts, in many cases, produce smaller errors than the other mesoscale analyses considered when calculating the planetary boundary layer height, surface based convective available potential energy, the surface based lifted condensation level, and near surface temperatures and dew points. Findings thus far display the potential of the mesoscale ensemble models to produce an accurate depiction of the mesoscale environment.