Tornadoes in the New York metropolitan region: Climatology and multiscale analysis of two events

Brian A. Colle, Kelly A. Lombardo, Jeffrey S. Tongue, William Goodman, Nelson Vaz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This paper describes the climatology of tornadoes around New York City (NYC) and Long Island (LI), New York, and the structural evolution of two tornadic events that affected NYC on 8 August 2007 and 16 September 2010. Nearly half (18 of 34 events from 1950 to 2010) of NYC-LI tornadoes developed between 0500 and 1300 EDT, and August is the peak tornado month as compared to July for most of the northeast United States. A spatial composite highlights the approaching midlevel trough, moderate most unstable convective available potential energy (MUCAPE), and frontogenesis along a low-level baroclinic zone. Shortly before the early morning tornadoes on 8 August 2007, a mesoscale convective system intensified in the lee of the Appalachians in a region of low-level frontogenesis and moderate MUCAPE (~1500 J kg-1). Warm advection at low levels and evaporative cooling within an elevated mixed layer (EML) ahead of the mesoscale convective system (MCS) helped steepen the low-level lapse rates. Meanwhile, a surface mesolow along a quasi-stationary frontal zone enhanced the warm advection and low-level shear. The late afternoon event on 16 September 2010 was characterized by a quasi-linear convective system (QLCS) that also featured an EML aloft, a surface mesolow just west of NYC, low-level frontogenesis, and a southerly low-level jet ahead of an approaching midlevel trough. The QLCS intensified approaching NYC and generated mesovortices as the QLCS bowed outward. These cases illustrate the benefit of high-density surface observations, terminal Doppler radars, and sounding profiles from commercial aircraft for nowcasting these events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1326-1348
Number of pages23
JournalWeather and Forecasting
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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