Chapter News
July 2003


Summary of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference in the Inland Effects of Tropical Weather Systems

Michael J. Brennan
Department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State
University, Raleigh, North Carolina

Corresponding Author Address: Michael J. Brennan, Campus Box 8208, 1123
Jordan Hall, Raleigh, NC 27695

The Central North Carolina Chapter of the AMS, along with the National Weather Service, the American Meteorological Society, the National Weather Association, and the State Climate Office of North Carolina hosted the Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference in the Inland Effects of Tropical Weather Systems. The goal of the conference was to bring together members of the research, operational, and broadcast meteorology communities along with emergency managers, the media, and other users to discuss the numerous inland impacts of tropical cyclones (TCs) and their remnants in the region from Georgia to Virginia.

The conference was held from 11-13 May 2003 at the Holiday Inn Brownstone in Raleigh, North Carolina. In an effort to attract as many attendees as possible, registration costs for the conference were kept low, around $50, which included two refreshment breaks and lunch each day, as well as an ice-breaker on Sunday evening. Over 120 people attended the conference, which featured 42 speakers from across the operational, academic, research, and user communities. The conference began on Sunday night with the icebreaker and a presentation by Dr. Steve Lyons of The Weather Channel on tropical cyclones and how The Weather Channel passes relevant information to the public.

Summary of Sessions

On Monday, presentations focused on recent scientific research and advancements in the monitoring and forecasting of inland impacts of tropical cyclones and their remnants, namely inland flooding, quantitative precipitation forecasting, extra-tropical transition, inland high winds, and lightning. The session opened with remarks from Dr. Joe Friday, the current AMS President. Dr. Sethu Raman, State Climatologist of North Carolina, gave a historic overview of regional problems with tropical cyclones in the mid-Atlantic. Dr. Richard Knabb of the National Hurricane Center (NHC) presented a summary of the Joint Hurricane Testbed. Dr. Gary Lackmann of North Carolina State University (NCSU) presented work on the potential impacts of the precipitation mass sink on tropical cyclogenesis using Hurricane Lili (2002) as an example.

After the morning break, Scott Braun of NASA-Goddard showed evidence of the relationship of mesovortices in the hurricane eyewall to vertical motions at landfall. Jeff Hawkins of the Naval Research Lab gave an overview of NRL’s tropical cyclone remote sensing initiatives, focusing on the real-time data available on NRL’s tropical cyclone website ( Peter Dodge of NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division (HRD) showed results from research using radar data to track intensity changes during and after landfall using the existing WSR-88D network along with mobile wind towers and Doppler radars. The morning session concluded with talks from Dr. John Schroder of Texas Tech University on hurricane wind fields, an overview of lightning in TC’s from Scott Sprat of the NWS Melbourne, Florida, office, and a summary of TCs and flash flooding using case studies from Puerto Rico and Charlotte, North Carolina, from Dr. Jim Smith of Princeton University.

The afternoon session began with Peter Bowyer of the Canadian Hurricane Center summarizing the issue of extratropical transition and the forecasting problems it creates, especially for Canadian forecasters. Dr. Robert Hart of Pennsylvania State University then presented an objective classification system to track the extratropical transition process. Next, Stacy Stewart of the Tropical Prediction Center/National Hurricane Center gave an overview of the new five-day track and intensity forecasts that began in the 2003 season. Dr. Shuyi Chen of the University of Miami (Florida) presented modeling simulations of Hurricane Floyd (1999) to demonstrate QPF prediction for landfalling TCs. Dr. Robert Tuleya of NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) showed verification data of rainfall forecasts from GFDL’s hurricane model.

In the final Monday afternoon session, Dr. Lian Xie of NCSU gave a presentation on the coupling of inland and coastal flooding with Hurricanes Dennis and Floyd (1999). Joel Cline of the Raleigh, North Carolina, NWS office showed composites of rainfall patterns associated with TCs that impacted North Carolina. Dr. Dev Niyogi of NCSU presented research tying the effects of land surface processes to heavy precipitation with TCs, showing a case study of Tropical Storm Allison (2001). Finally, Dr. Mike Kaplan of NCSU showed a study of the mesoscale processes associated with the heavy rainfall produced by Hurricane Floyd (1999).

Tuesday’s focus was on users’ information concerning the inland effects of TCs and their remnants, geared toward emergency managers and other government officials, and the public. J. Kevin Lavin, executive director of the National Weather Association, gave the opening remarks for Tuesday’s morning session. Arlene Lang of the University of South Florida presented research on the influences of local geographic features as well as flood mitigation efforts. Bill Massey of the Federal Emergency Management Agency gave a presentation on a proposal to add an inland flooding component to the HURREVAC model that is commonly used by emergency managers and other decision makers when a TC threatens land. David Roth of the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center gave an overview of characteristics associated with heavy rainfall with TCs, and factors to consider for QPF forecasting in those events.

After the morning break, John Feldt of the Southeast River Forecast Center discussed recent improvements in the warning of major inland flooding since Hurricane Floyd (1999). Dr. Frank Marks of HRD gave an overview of the development of a rainfall model component to the CLIPER model. Chip Konrad of the University of North Carolina (UNC) showed what climatological data could show about the inland rainfall patterns associated with TCs. Peter Gabrialson of the NWS Eastern Region presented a historic view of the widespread flooding associated with Hurricane Agnes in 1972 and showed what improvements have been made in the NWS forecast and warning system since that time. Rod Scofield of NESDIS gave an overview of new tropical rainfall nowcaster algorithms used to predict TC rainfall from satellite data. Finally, Dr. Al Riordan of NCSU showed a case study of the inland re-intensification of Tropical Storm Danny from 1997.

After lunch, Dean Gulezian, director of the NWS Eastern Region gave an overview of the role of the NWS in inland TC situations. Dr. Ken Taylor, director of the North Carolina Division of Emergency Management (NCEM) overviewed the role of state emergency management in hurricanes. John Dorman of NCEM then discussed the creation of a real-time flood warning system in the state through the NC Flood Inundation and Flood Forecast Mapping System. Finally, Kelly Hutchinson of the NC Department of Transportation overviewed how the DOT uses weather information as well as the lane-reversal plan for Interstate 40 in southeastern North Carolina for evacuation. Finally, Dr. Peter Robinson of UNC presented a climatological look at the scenarios involving tropical cyclones that brought major flooding to North Carolina in the 20th century.

In the final session, Steve Harned of the Raleigh NWS office demonstrated the NWS’s new Advanced Hydrological Prediction System (AHPS), which will provide detailed data to users and the public about river flooding. Liz Page of COMET presented information on the MetED project that contains online training information that addresses hurricanes and post-landfall flooding. Finally, Steve Keighton of the NWS office in Blacksburg, Virginia, ended the conference with a case study of orographic enhancement of inland precipitation associated with Hurricane Fran (1996).

Overview and Future Plans

Overall, many significant issues and problems, as well as relevant research relating to the inland effects of tropical cyclones were presented and discussed. After each of the talks there was time for questions and discussion, which continued during the breaks and at lunch and dinner over the course of the conference. All available presentations have been placed on the conference webpage, located at In addition, all registered attendees will receive a CD-ROM containing the presentations. Attendees were also surveyed for their feedback on the conference, which will be passed on to the AMS and any other local chapters planning future regional conferences.

Acknowledgements: The organizers and participants would like to thank the following groups that provided financial support to the Central North Carolina Chapter in an effort to reduce attendee costs for the conference: Capital Broadcasting Corporation, WNCN-TV, the North Carolina Division of Emergency Management, and North Carolina Farm Bureau Insurance. We would also like to thank the staff of the Holiday Inn Brownstone for hosting our conference.


Minutes from the Wednesday, July 16, 2002 meeting at Texas A&M.

Treasurer Paul Roller opened the meeting at 7:15PM. The Treasurer's report was given. Currently the club has $561.87 in its account. He promoted T- shirts and let everyone know that bumper stickers would be available sometime in the fall semester. Vice-President Morgan Gallagher promoted Friday Night Spikes and members joining the new social listserv.

Future events such as a Lock-In, Intramural, a trip to NASA, Adopt-a-beach and Adopt-a-highway, OU Trip and a 50th Anniversary party were discussed. Paul also reminded everyone to keep the date of February 2nd open for a big Groundhog's Day Party.

The meeting was adjourned to pizza and refreshments, while watching Hurricane Claudette footage provided by Kevin Walter.---Morgan Gallagher.


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