Leslie R. Lemon (January 19, 1947 – May 29, 2020) was an American meteorologist bridging research and forecasting with expertise in weather radar, particularly regarding severe convective storms. Lemon was, along with Charles A. Doswell III, a seminal contributor to the modern conception of the supercell convective storm which was first identified by Keith Browning,[1] and he developed the Lemon technique to estimate updraft strength and thunderstorm organization (in highly sheared environments) also as a continuation of Browning's work.[2][3]

Les Lemon
Born(1947-01-19)January 19, 1947
DiedMay 29, 2020(2020-05-29) (aged 73)
Alma materUniversity of Oklahoma
Known forRadar research and teaching on convective storms
Scientific career
InstitutionsNational Severe Storms Laboratory, NOAA Commissioned Corps, National Severe Storms Forecast Center, Lockheed Martin, Unisys, Basic Commerce & Industries, Paramax, Baron Services, WDTB/CIMMS, L.R. Lemon Meteorological Services

Early life


Lemon's interest in severe storms was triggered in earnest after he witnessed the F5 Ruskin Heights tornado on May 20, 1957, which caused light damage to his family's home and severe damage very nearby.[4] Lemon studied meteorology at the University of Kansas (KU) and the University of Oklahoma (OU), graduating with a B.S. from OU in 1970.



Lemon embarked on graduate school studies but it was during the Vietnam era so he wasn't able to continue, and he instead joined the NOAA Commissioned Corps. Afterward, in addition to developing the Lemon technique at the Techniques Development Unit (TDU) of the National Severe Storms Forecast Center (NSSFC) and his work on the supercell storm, Lemon was a major developer of the WSR-88D or "NEXRAD". In 1976 NOAA bestowed a Special Achievement Award for his co-discovery of tornado vortex signature (TVS). In tandem with developing new radar analysis concepts Lemon was early in integrating mesonet data from NSSL to connect what was occurring at the surface with radar depictions.[5]

He later taught widely on the subjects of radar and severe convective storms throughout the United States and internationally, leaving the public sector to work at various companies. At Lockheed Martin, Lemon was a key developer of its microburst prediction radar. Lemon also worked at Unisys and other companies during his career and operated a forensic and consulting meteorology company.[6]

Lemon was president of the National Weather Association (NWA) in 2001 and served on a National Academy of Sciences National Research Council (NAS NRC) committee on "Weather Radar Technology Beyond NEXRAD" that same year.

He was also an expert storm damage surveyor and surveyed the first documented tornado in Romania while doing radar work there.[7]



Lemon died on May 29, 2020, at the age of 73. He is survived by his wife and three children.[8]

See also



  1. ^ Lemon, Leslie R.; C.A. Doswell (Sep 1979). "Severe Thunderstorm Evolution and Mesocyclone Structure as Related to Tornadogenesis". Mon. Wea. Rev. 107 (9): 1184–97. Bibcode:1979MWRv..107.1184L. doi:10.1175/1520-0493(1979)107<1184:STEAMS>2.0.CO;2.
  2. ^ Lemon, Leslie R. (July 1977). New severe thunderstorm radar identification techniques and warning criteria: a preliminary report. Kansas City, MO: Techniques Development Unit, National Severe Storms Forecast Center.
  3. ^ Lemon, Leslie R. (April 1980). New Severe Thunderstorm Radar Identification Techniques and Warning Criteria. Kansas City, MO: Techniques Development Unit, National Severe Storms Forecast Center.
  4. ^ James Spann et al. (25 Jan 2010). "International Radar Expert". WeatherBrains. Episode 209. Archived from the original on 20 March 2014. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
  5. ^ Doswell, Chuck (30 May 2020). "Leslie R. Lemon - friend and colleague - has died". Chuck's Chatter. Retrieved 2024-03-16.
  6. ^ Lemon, L. R. "L. R. Lemon homepage". StormEyes. Retrieved 2014-03-18.
  7. ^ Lemon, Leslie R.; A. Stan-Sion (A. Bell); C. Soci; E. Cordoneanu (Jul–Sep 2003). "A strong, long-track, Romanian tornado". Atmos. Res. 67–68: 391–416. Bibcode:2003AtmRe..67..391L. doi:10.1016/S0169-8095(03)00063-2.
  8. ^ "Leslie R. "Bucky" Lemon". Retrieved 2020-06-01.