Scud Bomb? Need help identifying this...

Trevor Shepard

Enthusiast
May 7, 2019
2
0
1
Springfield MO
Im not sure this is the right place to post this. I have a strong inclination that this is a scud bomb, it came from the base of some weak afternoon convection. Screenshot_20190726-114620_Gallery.jpg
 
Apr 24, 2015
76
27
11
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Non-rotating multi-cell thunderstorms often produce updraft lowerings that look very similar to lowerings associated with supercells. That would be my guess as to what this is, but it can be hard to judge from still pictures. Whether the lowered clouds are associated with persistent rotating motion is more important than how impressive they look in a picture IMHO. Plains storms almost always look way more visually impressive than this, but wimpy pathetic looking storms can put down small twisters sometimes, especially low-topped supercells from upper cut-off lows or landfalling tropical systems. That said, this looks like a multi-cell feature to me just because the broader cloud base surrounding it doesn't have any curved features at all and is also quite small. A healthy supercell, even low-topped, will usually have a wider more uniformly dark base. The way the scud/lowering looks isn't as important as the appearance of the overall cloud base.
 
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Apr 24, 2015
76
27
11
Grand Rapids, Michigan
I was a noob in my 3rd year of chasing, and I was totally fooled into thinking this was a big tornado over Dodge City. Scud.
Yea. That's a good example of a really ominous looking non-tornadic cloud. Sometimes from a head-on perspective an inflow feeder will look like it's lowered vertically to the ground when it's actually tilted and descending at a shallow angle towards the horizon. An RFD shelf can also create an eerie wedge appearance in the distance when you're looking along it from a cross-section point of view instead of head-on.
 
Jan 31, 2017
105
86
11
Joplin, MO & Iowa City, IA
Here are two images of mine from May 27, 2001.

View attachment 19578

View attachment 19579

I was a noob in my 3rd year of chasing, and I was totally fooled into thinking this was a big tornado over Dodge City. Scud.
Your pictures should be part of every NWS spotter session. They show how easy it is to get fooled. (I'm too embarrassed to post the scud that hoodwinked me in my earlier days.
 
Dec 8, 2003
1,295
269
11
Southeast CO
www.youtube.com
Now I am kind of hijacking the thread, and I sincerely apologize, but I want to tell you more about the story of my scud. This isn't the first time I have posted those vidcaps on ST. I posted them on ST the night of May 27, 2001, the day I shot the video, proudly showing everyone the "big tornado" I had seen. It wasn't until the next day that I was smacked down, and I was humiliated. Don't worry about it, Steve. You gotta be able to laugh at yourself.
 

S Klein

Enthusiast
Jan 11, 2020
3
2
1
Colorado
Im not sure this is the right place to post this. I have a strong inclination that this is a scud bomb, it came from the base of some weak afternoon convection. View attachment 19182
I'm inclined to agree with Marshall, it does look like convective rain-free base (a non-rotating wall cloud), likely from a developing multicellular storm. Unless it was rotating, in which case it was likely an isolated rotating wall cloud within a convective eddie; it is attached to the cloud base, so in theory it could absorb surface based vorticity and form a non-mesocyclone tornado

Here are two images of mine from May 27, 2001.

View attachment 19578

View attachment 19579

I was a noob in my 3rd year of chasing, and I was totally fooled into thinking this was a big tornado over Dodge City. Scud.
Are those striations not from rotation then? Scud clouds don't rotate and there are plenty of tornado reports from Western Kansas that day. Most chasers aren't meteorologists and don't always know what they're looking at, especially when you saw something they didn't. When I'm not sure what I saw I usually run it by an NWS meteorologist and/or a few local television meteorologists, and possibly a few spotters I trust, then use the consensus to determine what I saw. I'd be extremely curious to see that video if you still happen to have it.
 
Dec 8, 2003
1,295
269
11
Southeast CO
www.youtube.com
As I remember it now, my chase had started around Liberal. Somewhere west of DDC, anyway. Because I didn't know what I was doing I ended up chasing the FFD region of the storm, which is what you see in my pics. I do have the video, but not with me. I'm not home. The video does not exhibit any rapid rotation. That scud may have been rotating slowly, but of course that is meaningless. It appeared to me to be right over DDC, not just nearby, so it was likely within 5 miles of the DDC radar, if not less, yet the mets at the office there never issued any warning. I have to believe they were looking at it right out their windows. There was no tornado reported there, no damage.
 

S Klein

Enthusiast
Jan 11, 2020
3
2
1
Colorado
Yea. That's a good example of a really ominous looking non-tornadic cloud. Sometimes from a head-on perspective an inflow feeder will look like it's lowered vertically to the ground when it's actually tilted and descending at a shallow angle towards the horizon. An RFD shelf can also create an eerie wedge appearance in the distance when you're looking along it from a cross-section point of view instead of head-on.
Ah yes, but such inflow feeders can also be adjacent to a tornado, and could easily shroud one from the wrong angle as well, I personally think video is a far more reliable as it shows motion.

As I remember it now, my chase had started around Liberal. Somewhere west of DDC, anyway. Because I didn't know what I was doing I ended up chasing the FFD region of the storm, which is what you see in my pics. I do have the video, but not with me. I'm not home. The video does not exhibit any rapid rotation. That scud may have been rotating slowly, but of course that is meaningless. It appeared to me to be right over DDC, not just nearby, so it was likely within 5 miles of the DDC radar, if not less, yet the mets at the office there never issued any warning. I have to believe they were looking at it right out their windows. There was no tornado reported there, no damage.
Now I'm REALLY curious to see your video! Would you mind doing a private upload and sharing it on this thread when you get home? There shouldn't really be any rotation at all in scud, sure, they can briefly swirl around eachother in a disorganized fashion now and then, but the discernment between scud and something threatening is rotation within the cloud (and not simply clouds caught in rotation), not to mention that NWS clearly defines scud as disconnected from the cloud base. Maybe you saw a developing shelf with scud inflow, but I'd be hard pressed to call that entire structure scud. . .