Total lightning and radar storm characteristics associated with severe storms in Central Florida
A number of prior studies have examined the association of lightning activity with the occurrence of severe weather and tornadoes, in particular. High flash rates are often observed in tornadic storms but not always. Taylor found that 23% of nontornadic storms and I% of non-severe storms had sferics rates comparable to the tornadic storms. MacGorman (1993) found that storms with mesocyclones produced more frequent intracloud (lC) lightning than cloud-ta-ground (CG) lightning. MacGorman (1993) and others suggest that the lightning activity accompanying tornadic storms will be dominated by intracloud lightning- with an increase in intracloud and total flash rates as the updraft increases in depth, size, and velocity. In a recent study, Perez et aI. (1998) found that CG flash rates alone are too variable to be a useful predictor of (F4, F5) tornado formation. Studies of non-tornadic storms have also shown that total lightning flash rates track the updraft, with rates increasing as the updraft intensifies and decreasing rapidly with cessation of vertical growth or downburst onset (Goodman et aI., 1988; Williams et aI., 1989). Such relationships result from the development of mixed phase precipitation and increased hydrometeor collisions that lead to the efficient separation of charge. Correlations between updraft strength and other variables such as cloud-top height, cloud water mass, and hail size have also been observed. In this paper we examine the total lightning activity (with high time resolution), and the associated Doppler radar time history of weaker (FO, Fl) tornadic storms in Florida. Much of the prior work has focused on tornadic supercells in the Great Plains.