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Predicting Supercell Motion in Operations


Matthew Bunkers








Last Updated:



Objective: To increase operational awareness of forecasting supercell motion – leads to better nowcasts & pathcasts of severe convective weather, as well as better derived parameters.


  1. Discuss primary mechanisms controlling supercell (and thunderstorm) motion
  2. Explain the B2K method for predicting supercell motion which includes:
    • strengths and limitations of B2K method
    • vertical wind shear perspective
  3. Provide examples of predicting supercell motion in operations
  4. Summarize and provide recommendations

Training Session Options

NOAA/NWS students – to begin the training, use the web-based video, YouTube video, or audio playback options below (if present for this session). Certificates of completion for NOAA/NWS employees can be obtained by accessing the session via the Commerce Learning Center.

  1. Audio playback (recommended for low-bandwidth users) – This is an audio playback version in the form of a downloadable VISITview and can be taken at anytime.

    Create a directory to download the audio playback file (74 MB) from the following link:

    After extracting the files into that directory click on either the visitplay.bat or visitauto.bat file to start the lesson. If both files are present, use visitauto.bat

  2. YouTube video:

References/Additional Links

  • Previous version of this training session (from 2005). Talking points.
  • Download the PowerPoint 2005 version of this training session
  • Bunkers, M. J., B. A. Klimowski, J. W. Zeitler, R. L. Thompson, and M. L. Weisman, 2000: Predicting supercell motion using a new hodograph technique. Wea. Forecasting, 15, 61-79.
  • Doswell, C. A., III, 1991: A review for forecasters on the application of hodographs to forecasting severe thunderstorms. Natl. Wea. Dig., 16, 2-16.
  • Edwards, R, R. L. Thompson, and J. A. Hart, 2002: Verification of supercell motion forecasting techniques. Preprints, 21st Conf. on Severe Local Storms, San Antonio, TX, Amer. Meteor. Soc., CD-ROM, J57-J60.
  • Excel Hodograph Spreadsheet (Download here)
  • Ramsay, H. A., and C. A. Doswell III, 2004: Exploring hodograph-based techniques to estimate the velocity of right-moving supercells. Wea. Forecasting, in review.
  • UCAR, 1999: Predicting Supercell Motion Using Hodograph Techniques. University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Cooperative Program for Operational Meteorology, Education, and Training (COMET), Webcast [Available on-line at:]
  • UCAR, 2003: Principles of Convection II: Using Hodographs. University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Cooperative Program for Operational Meteorology, Education, and Training (COMET), Webcast. [Available on-line at:]
  • Zeitler, J. W., and M. J. Bunkers, 2005: Operational forecasting of supercell motion: Review and case studies using multiple datasets. Natl. Wea. Digest, in press.
This course is Intermediate

There are no prerequisites


Dan Bikos

Page Contact

Bernie Connell


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