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EJSSM 7.4: Russian Tornado Outbreak of 9 June 1984

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#1 Roger Edwards

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 11:39 AM

EJSSM Forum comments are welcome on this article by Finch and Bikos (2012).



The tornado outbreak of 9 June 1984 is among the most important tornado events in Russia’s history because it was associated with substantial loss of life (400 deaths), and contained one of two F4 tornadoes on record for that country. Also, a 1-kg hailstone was observed, comparable to the heaviest on world record. The synoptic and mesoscale environments are examined and previous studies of this case are revisited to confirm or dispute findings. One of the major findings in dispute is the source of the low-level moist air mass, which is shown to be the Black Sea. Due to the paucity of previous studies, the authors also surveyed the typical sources of low-level moisture for tornado events in the western part of the former Soviet Union.

Despite the limited information available about the tornadoes for this case (at least relative to significant tornado events in the United States), the authors present details from eyewitness accounts, previous studies, and modernized updates from the European Severe Weather Database (ESWD). Satellite data were studied in order to augment this limited information and to refine event locations and times. A map of storm tracks is presented, along with reasons why it differs in some instances from previous studies.

#2 Valerian Jewtoukoff

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 06:00 PM

A few years ago, I did a numerical simulation of this case study using WRF. You can see the synoptic situation at 1200 UTC on the outer domain below.


surface analysis


Here in the simulation, the surface dewpoint tongue originating from the Black Sea is consistent with the description of the article. So is the fact that the Mediterranean Sea does not seem to be a significant source of moisture for that particular case. On the other hand, the simulation sees the Caspian Sea as an equal - if not bigger - source of moisture (surface dewpoint tongue east of the Black Sea), which is not really emphasized by the backward trajectory analysis in the article.


500 hPa analysis


Overall, the synoptic situation reminds me a lot of Miller's type D outbreak situation, with the well-defined south-southwesterly jet, the warm moist air advected by a southerly flow, and a deep surface low. Miller described this situation as very favorable for large hail, which would be consistent with this large hailstone that was observed.

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