Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Mercer, Andrew E.

Committee Member

Dyer, Jamie L.

Committee Member

Brown, Michael E.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access



Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Geosciences


Tornadic outbreaks occur annually, causing fatalities and millions of dollars in damage. By improving forecasts, the public can be better equipped to act prior to an event. False alarms (FAs) can hinder the public’s ability (or willingness) to act. As such, a probabilistic FA forecasting scheme would be beneficial to improving public response to outbreaks.

Here, a machine learning approach is employed to predict FA likelihood from Storm Prediction Center (SPC) tornado outbreak forecasts. A database of hit and FA outbreak forecasts spanning 2010 – 2020 was developed using historical SPC convective outlooks and the SPC Storm Reports database. Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model simulations were done for each outbreak to characterize the underlying meteorological environments. Parameters from these simulations were used to train a support vector machine (SVM) to forecast FAs. Results were encouraging and may result in further applications in severe weather operations.