Date of Publication

5-9-2013

Degree Type

Honors Thesis

Department

Earth Sciences

Abstract

This paper discusses a case study of an EF2 tornado that occurred with a supercell thunderstorm on June 7th, 2012 near Wheatland, WY. It is hypothesized that the topography of the Rocky Mountains played a role in this storm’s formation, based on another study that showed that the mountains created low-level flow channeling and banners of strong potential vorticity that enhanced another storm near Laramie, WY and made it become tornadic. This study intended to find out whether these two tornadoes occurred under similar conditions. Stability, shear, low-level and upper-level environmental conditions, and radar and satellite imagery were used to asses this storm’s formation and strength using the Storm Prediction Center’s Severe Weather Event Review, as well as the NCDC NEXRAD Data Inventory. The storm’s path was also tracked over the terrain of the region. There were high instability values and low shear values, as well as synoptic forcing, a front at the surface and a dryline. The conditions turned out to be somewhat different from the other case, and in the case of the Wheatland storm, a synoptic scale upper-level trough and associated shortwave contributed, and banners of potential vorticity

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