October 22, 2020 Meeting

The first meeting of the 2020-2021 year was held virtually via Google Meet. Our guest speaker was Dr. Victor Gensini of Northern Illinois University.

Meeting Minutes

Call to Order
The first meeting of the 2020-2021 AMS/NWA chapter occurred on October 22, 2020 virtually via Google Meet. The meeting was called to order at 7:02pm by President Thomas Winesett.

Rolls
Recording Secretary Joanne Culin took note of the number present. In total, there were 20 attendees.

Minutes Approval
Given the virtual format of the meeting, we did not cover minutes from the previous meeting.

New Business
Thomas discussed how dues would be waived since meetings are all virtual this year. Given how dues are used for food or travel for the speaker, and this would not be used this year, then dues would not be collected. If meetings resume later in the year, some kind of prorated dues would occur. Thomas also mentioned that officers would remain the same as well. David gave a treasury report and there is $452.29 in the treasury. Joanne gave a preview of who the potential speaker would be in November.

Eric introduced the speaker. Dr. Victor Gensini, who is an Associate Professor with the Dept. of Geographic and Atmospheric Sciences with Northern Illinois University. He was the lead developer of the College of Dupage weather page and still works with the model page. His research is: why are some springs really active and others are super quiet. Funding came to study tornadoes in the Southeast and first year for Vortex-SE was quiet.

Victor mentioned participating in the Hazardous Weather Testbed and how people form different avenues of the weather community are put together to test new tools to help outlook severe weather outlooks. The idea that stemmed out of his week at HWT: How well can we currently predict severe weather and how far out in time can we go where we have no more skill. Primary product for consumption is SPC day 1 outlook. We need an objective way to verify SPC forecasts. The way to grade is using the practically perfect method. It attempts to issue a perfect SPC forecast by fitting all reports to a grid and running a gaussian curve to it.

In this study, he examined Spring 2016-2017 and evaluated 3864 forecasts for hail and tornadoes. They found that the GEFS is skillful at predicting severe weather versus other, more simply forecasts. Combinations of the supercell composite parameter and convective precipitation were used as an environmental proxy to predict tornado and hail events. On average, zero skill is found beyond day 10 for tornado and day 12 for hail. However, skill is likely dependent on the scale of the event. There appears to be forecasts of opportunity that exist into week 2, and other times when not much skill is found beyond day 6.

Victor then turned to talking about sub-seasonal forecasting. He described the Madden Jullian Oscillation (MJO). MJO is the primary sub-seasonal driver for our weather. He looked into seeing if it plays a role in more active severe weather. There are 8 total phases of the MJO.
Phases 1 and 2 are unlikely to have severe weather. However, there are 15 times more likely to have an EF2 tornado between phase 1 and 2, but 8 times less likely around phase 5 to 6 and three times less likely between phases 7 and 8.

Adjournment
The meeting concluded around 8:12pm.

Minutes were submitted by Joanne Culin, Recording Secretary.

October 22, 2020 Meeting

Dr Gensini presents to the group.

For more pictures from this meeting, click here.