Meteorologist in Charge
National Weather Service
Indiana’s Contribution in the Research and Development of Understanding Tornadoes and Severe Thunderstorms
Hoosiers have experienced their share of tornado events during the last century. These events have led to extraordinary opportunities to enhance the science of meteorology through research in topics such as satellite imagery to forecasting of severe storms and even the classification of certain types of storms that bring damaging winds and tornadoes.
One of the biggest tornadoes, the Tri-State tornado of 18 March 1925, affected parts of southern Indiana. The tornado began in south-central Missouri, continued through southern Illinois, and finally dissipated over southwest Indiana. Several forecasters and researchers, including one from Indiana, reexamined this tornado from the late 1990s through early 2000s and discovered this tornado began sooner and dissipated later than originally believed.
Two major tornado outbreaks that led to research which enhanced forecasting and warning of severe storms, were the Palm Sunday Outbreak in April 1965 and the Super Outbreak in April 1974. The Palm Sunday Outbreak encouraged the establishment of the National Severe Storms Laboratory. The Super Outbreak of 1974 to the development of Doppler Radar as well as a scale that continues to be used to rate damage caused by tornadoes.
Finally, one severe storm forecaster from Indiana studied damaging winds from thunderstorms and led research in long tracking storms called derechos that can cause tornado-like damage.
These accomplishments and how they improved severe storm meteorology will be presented. Future research of tornadoes in Indiana are being planned using radar at Purdue University which could provide keys to help forecasters improve lead times in tornado warnings in the next decade.
Daniel McCarthy's Biography
Daniel McCarthy is the Meteorologist in Charge at the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Indianapolis, IN. Dan arrived at the Weather Forecast Office in Indianapolis in September 2007 after 20 years with the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, OK. He was the first Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the Storm Prediction Center serving as the liaison between SPC and its national partners and users of SPC products and services.
Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Daniel holds a Bachelor of Science and Masters of Science Degrees in Meteorology from St. Louis University. He first worked in Broadcast Meteorology for Great Lakes Weather, Inc. and WSAW-TV in Wausau, WI, and for WeatherData, Inc. and the KSN Network in Wichita, KS. He also has worked for the Industrial Commission of Ohio in the Division of Safety and Hygiene, and Administrative Services for the State of Ohio.
Daniel has done extensive studies on tornadoes and tornado outbreaks through the calculating annual tornado and severe storm statistics for the country. He has written numerous papers on tornado climatology, tornado damage and the Enhanced Fujita Scale, as well as tornado, hail and thunderstorm damaging wind trends across the United States. He has also done case studies that includes bow echoes across Kansas and New York State, extensive research on the tornadoes and tornado forecasting of the Super Outbreak of April 3-4, 1974, the Palm Sunday Outbreak of April 11-12, 1965 and the northeast Ohio/northwest Pennsylvania tornado outbreak of May 31, 1985 by studying how today’s computer models would forecast these events and finding typical patterns that produce these type of events across the Ohio Valley.
Daniel has done numerous interviews on tornadoes and severe storms on local television stations across the country, and on networks such as NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, The Learning Channel, The Discovery Channel, The History Channel and The Weather