VORTEX-SE is a research program focused on tornado issues of special concern in the southeastern United States. The overarching goal of VORTEX-SE is to reduce damage, injuries, and loss of life from tornadoes through improvements in understanding, forecasting and warning, and risk communication in ways that support protective decision making. This includes understanding and, where possible, providing recommendations for how to mitigate key vulnerabilities to tornadoes in the southeast US.
Physical science and observational advances that can help improve operational forecasts and warnings are important contributors to reducing loss of life from tornadoes in the southeast US. Contributions from the SBE sciences are also critical, to understand societal aspects of southeast tornado risks and to help meteorological advances achieve their potential for benefiting society. Thus, VORTEX-SE spans a range of disciplines, including atmospheric science, SBE (social, behavioral, and economic) sciences, and operational meteorology.
For the Meso18-19 deployment, operations focused on research radiosonde releases from up to 10 locations around the southeastern US (from Texas to Alabama) as well as special 06 and 18 UTC releases from NWS locations during up to ten Intensive Observing Periods (IOPs) from November 2018 to April 2019. The research radiosondes were released by groups from NOAA (NSSL and ATDD) as well as several University groups (Mississippi State University, Texas A&M, University of Alabama - Huntsville, University of Louisiana - Monroe, and the University of Southern Alabama. Additionally, there were two NOAA/University of Oklahoma CLAMPS (Collaborative Lower Atmospheric Mobile Profiling System), the Texas Tech StesoNet surface weather station network, as well as various profiling and other instrumentation around Northern Alabama provided by the University of Alabama - Huntsville.