Rain, Drought, Urbanization Contributing Factors for Storms

  • Released Wednesday, March 11th, 2009
  • Updated Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023 at 1:54PM
  • ID: 10402

On March 14, 2008, a tornado swept through downtown Atlanta, its 130 mile-per-hour winds ripping holes in the roof of the Georgia Dome, blowing out office windows and trashing parts of Centennial Olympic Park. It was an event so rare in an urban landscape that researchers immediately began to examine NASA satellite data and historical archives to see what weather and climatological ingredients may have combined to brew such a storm. Read more at http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/atlanta_tornado.html.

The animation shows how, in the days leading up to March 14, 2008, pockets of rain fell between drought-ravaged areas that saw no rain, setting up boundaries of dry and moist air. These boundaries along with urban-rural land cover boundaries produce circulations and rising air similar to a sea breeze. They may also serve as localized regions of enhancement for existing storms or initiation of new storms. Modeling studies suggest that these boundaries may have been a factor in the storms that produced the Atlanta tornado.

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Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center and Ivy Flores (UMBC)