E-Journal of Severe Storms Meteorology

E-Journal of Severe Storms Meteorology, Vol 7, No 9 (2012)

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Estimating Wind Speeds of Convective Storms from Tree Damage

Lee E. Frelich, Ernest J Ostuno

Abstract


In much of the central and eastern United States, tree damage is typically the most common damage indicator available to National Weather Service meteorologists estimating wind speeds from convective storms.  Unfortunately, most meteorologists have little or no formal training in the susceptibility of trees to high winds, and the Enhanced Fujita scale does not address many of the various factors that affect the wind tolerance of trees.  This study attempts to describe these factors and to provide a strategy for integrating them when estimating wind speeds based on tree damage.  Several case studies are used to illustrate the problems and possibilities in deriving a more detailed damage scale than currently exists.

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