Forecasting Severe Convection

January 17, 2017
T 9:00-11:00
METR 4970.100


National Weather Center, Room 5720, 120 David L. Boren Blvd, Norman, OK 73072   View map


Spring 2017


Instructor David Imy
Office hours By appointment
Course description:

The course emphasis is on expanding hand analysis skills of surface and upper air charts, with a
goal of visualizing the pre-convective environment and basic meteorological processes. The student
will use this conceptual model of the existing environment, along with other diagnostic weather
data and specific guidance from numerical weather prediction models, to create SPC-like Convective
Severe Weather Outlooks at the end of the class.
Course web site: (log on using your OU e-mail and password)
Primary Learning Objectives for the Course:

• Develop skills in analyzing maps and diagnosing the atmosphere.
• Use diagnostic weather information and specific guidance from numerical weather prediction
models to create SPC-like Convective Severe Weather Outlooks.

Format of the Course:

Since this class is more of a lab than a traditional class, it will meet 2 hours a week each of the
first 8 weeks of the spring semester (last class is Tue March 7, 2016). About half of the class is
lecture to develop and reinforce the basic meteorological understanding needed for the operational
forecast process. The topics covered include: geostrophic and non-geostrophic winds, identifying
surface boundaries, pressure changes, low level confluence/ upper level diffluence, upper troughs,
instability, shear, thickness, Quantitative Precipitation Forecasts (QPF), and SPC Outlooks. The
second half of the class time will be dedicated to analyzing maps and developing techniques for
evaluating the severe weather threat. The last two classes consist of creating SPC-like Convective
Severe Weather Outlooks. There will be no additional assignments outside of the class, though the
in-class assignments may require an additional 1 to 3 hours of work outside of the class to
complete. Grades will be derived from your analysis, associated questions and the Convective
Outlooks issued weeks 7 and 8.

Week 1 – Surface Map Analysis – 10%

Week 2 – Surface Map Analysis – 10%

Week 3 – Upper Air Analysis – 10% Week 4 – Analyze surface and
500 mb chart – 10% Week 5 – Severe Weather Exercises – 10% Week 6 –
Determine Severe Threat Area – 10% Week 7 – Day 2 Outlook Exercise
– 15%
Week 8 – Day 1 Outlook – Final Exam – 25%
Tentative topics:
Date Topic
In class assignment
Week 1

Geostrophic and Non-Geostrophic Winds Boundaries

Analyze surface maps

Week 2
Differential Heating Boundaries Isallobaric Wind
Analyze surface maps

Surface Pressure Changes
Week 3
Confluence/Diffluence Upper Level Trough’s

Analyze upper air maps
Week 4

Low and Deep Layer Shear Analyze upper air maps.

1000-500 mb Thickness
Week 5

500 MB Heights Model QPF
Water Vapor Imagery
Severe weather evaluation exercise.

Week 6

SPC Supercell Composite Parameter (SCP) SPC Significant Tornado Parameter (STP)

Analyze surface maps and use in conjunction with other data to determine where and if a severe
threat exists.

Week 7
Storm Scale Models Composite Maps
SPC Convective Outlooks
Create an SPC-like Day 2 Categorical Severe Weather Outlook
Week 8 Final Exam

Create an SPC-like Categorical Convective Day 1 Outlook

Important Policies:
Reasonable Accommodation: The University of Oklahoma is committed to providing reasonable
accommodation for all students with disabilities. Students with disabilities who require
accommodation in this course are requested to speak with me as early in the semester as possible.
Students with disabilities must be registered with the Office of Disability Services prior to
receiving accommodations in this course. The Office of Disability Services is located in Goddard
Health Center, Suite 166, phone 325-3852 or TDD only 325-4173.
Academic Misconduct: All provisions of the Norman Campus Academic Misconduct Code shall apply in
cases of academic dishonesty. Any violation of the Academic Misconduct Code will result in your
removal from this course, and a grade of F will be recorded for the course. Academic misconduct is
defined as “any act that improperly affects the evaluation of a student’s academic performance or
achievement.” At the University of Oklahoma, academic integrity is expected from each
student. Misconduct such as plagiarism, fabrication, and fraud, as well as attempting to commit
such acts or assisting others in doing so, will not be tolerated. Students are responsible for
knowing the OU Academic Conduct Code, which can be found
at and

120 David L Boren Blvd., Suite 5900, Norman, OK 73072 (405) 325-6561