(Sort of a compilation of approaches I noticed in your asssignments).
The northeastern portions of the north Pacific and north Atlantic are often the locales for strong and rapid cyclogenesis. In early January 2008 one such wave cyclone explosively developed in the northern Gulf of Alaska. This study showed that as this storm progressed towards and across the West Coast, it was associated with damaging, hurricane force winds and record breaking rains in many sections of northern and central California. Many locations reported 24 h rainfall totals approaching the 100-yr event and peak wind gusts exceeding the 50 yr event.
One of the purposes of this study was to qualitatively assess the synoptic-scale controls on the divergence and compensating mid-tropospheric vertical motion fields associated with the period of explosive development. As expected, strong upper tropospheric divergence and mid-tropospheric upward motion were colocated with the storm's center during the period of most rapid development.
The controls on the vertical motion field associated with the disturbance were diagnosed on the basis of the qualitative assessment of two of the forcing terms in the quasigeostrophic omega equation. This study showed that the the early phase of explosive development was associated primarily with warm advection (cyclonic vorticity advection or both) while during the storm's middle life cycle cyclonic vorticity advection (warm advection or both) appeared to dominate.
The study illustrates the conceptual power of quasigeostrophic theory in helping forecasters understand the mechanisms for surface development. Rather than blundering about using rules of thumb or blind faith, forecasters who are able to effectively apply the terms of the equation are also able to have deeper understanding of the factors that relate to surface storm development.