Total lightning as a severe weather diagnostic in strongly baroclinic systems in Central Florida
Severe weather is defined by specific thresholds in wind. hail size and vorticity. All of these phenomena have close physical connections with vertical drafts in deep convection, which are themselves not directly measured with scanning Doppler radars of the NEXRAD type. Cloud electrification and lightning are particularly sensitive to these drafts because they modulate the supply of supercooled water which is the growth agent for the ice particles (ice crystals, graupel and hail) believed essential for electrical charge separation. For these reasons, one can expect correlations at the outset between total lightning activity and the development of severe weather which may aid in the understanding and prediction of these extreme weather conditions. The exploration of these ideas has historically been impeded by lack of good quantitative observations. A recent review of results on severe storm electrification (Williams, 1998) indicates a general absence of cases for which total lightning activity is documented over the lifetime of a severe storm. The recent development of LISDAD (Lightning Imaging Sensor Data Application Display) (Boldi, et aI., 1998) has largely remedied this problem. This paper is concerned with the use of LISDAD to quantify the behavior of total lightning in all types of severe weather, with a focus on a pair of extraordinarily electrified supercells in the Florida dry season.