01-28-06 Kansas First January Tornado: Links to some sites

Originally posted by Andy Wehrle
If the sky was clear, it was a dust devil, not a landspout.

Yes, the report from that second link does sound a bit odd!

Pat
 
Originally posted by Andy Wehrle
If the sky was clear, it was a dust devil, not a landspout.

Many, many tornadoes have occurred with blue skies all around except for the funnel aloft. Personally, I'm inclined to believe the report of this being a landspout.

Gabe
 
I still have a hard time with the term "clear" being used. Nothing that major I don't suppose..

Pat
 
By the way, for all who don't know.... Those possible tornadoes reported in Harvey county (near Newton) weren't from Scott Curren's supercell... Which was well north of these storms (and before)... I was briefly confusing myself, earlier. Bigtime congrats to Scott for the catch -- I'll do a sfc analysis later tonight.

EDIT: I just did a sfc analysis of 21z... The surface low sits just south of Hastings, with the warm front extending southeast from the low through KTOP (and a cold front arching southwest through central KS with a dryline trailing ahead of the cold front)... Scott's tornado occured just about right on the triple point (with the other possible tornadoes occuring well southward along the dryline). Your typical cold core setting... This also marks (as Mike G already mentioned above) the first Janurary tornado day in KS in recorded history..
 
"Many, many tornadoes have occurred with blue skies all around except for the funnel aloft."

I don't follow... You are saying there's a tornado on the ground with that being the only cloud in the sky?
 
Originally posted by nickgrillo
By the way, for all who don't know.... Those possible tornadoes reported in Harvey county (near Newton) weren't from Scott Curren's supercell... Which was well north of these storms (and before)... I was briefly confusing myself, earlier. Bigtime congrats to Scott for the catch -- I'll do a sfc analysis later tonight.

I find it impossible to tell from Scott's photos that what he saw was a tornado. I'm not saying he wasn't able to visually tell, but I can't make out even a transparent tube to ground or debris underneath. I even tried zooming in and am using a high definition screen. It is definitely a lowering and probable funnel, but is very distant. Maybe it is easier to see the 'tornado' by actual video in motion as I think these are only grabs

Note also that SPC has no logged tornadoes for Scotts area which is many counties north of Newton.
 
Originally posted by rdale
"Many, many tornadoes have occurred with blue skies all around except for the funnel aloft."

I don't follow... You are saying there's a tornado on the ground with that being the only cloud in the sky?

I don't believe Gabe was saying that, Rob. I think he meant like in a case where the funnel extends out behind the parent updraft and the tornado touches ground in a clear area, or where the RFD cuts away the clouds around the top of the funnel. That could have been the case here, but I think the news article could have explained it a little better-their description makes it seem like there was no thunderstorm/convection in the area, which would make a true tornado (landspout or otherwise) impossible.
 
First January tornado since 1950 strikes forecast area
http://www.crh.noaa.gov/ict/scripts/viewst...MBER=2006012900


2006012900_Ref2121z.png

Source: NWS Wichita

Mike
 
I just watched the Newton video clip and read the news excerpts. This 'tornado' was definitely not a tornado or a landspout. They make a point to say that there was no storm and it was clear, blue skies all around. Here is the most widely accepted definition of what a tornado is:

"Glossary (Glickman 2000):

Tornado -- 1. A violently rotating column of air, in contact with the ground, either pendant from a cumuliform cloud or underneath a cumuliform cloud, and often (but not always) visible as a funnel cloud."

Obviously we as chasers should all know this definition, but some of the posts above apparently do not. Note that there has to be a storm and cloud present and overhead, and preferably connected to the cloud (pendant).

Here is the way I see the Newton event.

1) If there was no storm anywhere nearby it is simply a Dust Devil - a strong one at that, but they can get strong sometimes to do this type of damage.

2) If there was a storm nearby (5 miles or so) and the 'tornado' was associated with the shear interface / turbulence of the storm then it was a Gustnado.

3) If there was a storm (including dark clouds, wind, probably wind/hail) but the tornado was not associated on radar or visually with the rotating inflow of the storm then it was a Landspout.

4) If there was a storm with rotating inflow area (either verified radar or visually) then the storm was a Supercell. The tornado was a supercellular tornado or what we usually and traditionally refer to as a tornado and see most often as chasers.

In my opinion and from what I have read only #3 & #4 definitions are true tornadoes. However there is much debate about #2 Gustnado, and to some degree since it is caused by a storm and can be strong I can see how some call it a true tornado.

#1 Dust Devil is definitely not a tornado of any type; therefore the Newton tornado barring any further evidence was not a tornado at all and should not be logged as such by NWS/SPC IMO.

I think a number of us should email these stations with the proper definitions of tornadoes also so that they can explain to their viewers that this was not a tornado, and educate them as to what is required for a tornado.
 
Hmm...as soon as I make the statement above, Mike provides a radar showing there was a storm nearby to support the tornado claim. I thought I remembered a storm being in this area yesterday, but I wonder why the media keeps saying no storm was around and it was clear? Quite a contradiction.

Watch the actual video clip (I believe from Mikes first link) (can't use Firefox) and listen to how the media describes the situation and tornado.

Here is a paper I always like that discusses and defines the different types of "tornadoes"
http://www.cimms.ou.edu/~doswell/a_tornado...o/atornado.html
 
Here's a few excerpts from the KAKE 10 news broadcast to show why it sounded to me like there was no storm:

"tornado comes out of nowhere"

"looked like perfectly good day"

"today there was no thunderstorm at all"


Based on Mike's radar above it appears there was a shower nearby afterall and it could have been any of #1 thru #3 of my definitions above, but I'd say most likely landspout, or gustnado. Probably not a dust devil because it was probably related in some way to storm / precip turbulence - in this case likely outflow boundaries or intersecting / interacting boundaries. Not sure about the landspout. I usually associate landspouts with the FFD (Forward Flank Downdraft) and full connection to a storm. Gustnado fits because it's mechanism isn't directly connected to a storm or the deep moisture convection within. Instead it is a by product of storm inflow / outflow and boundaries.

So, most probable IMO: Gustnado
Possible: Landspout
 
Bill,

I do think much of the public would say "out of nowhere" if it isn't rainy or overcast where they are. We all know that supercell tornadoes are associated with the updraft and thus often occur away from the precipitation core. If it's an isolated supercell, and the funnel is tilted, you could be hit by a tornado, look up, and see mostly blue (since the precip and clouds are downwind for your location). I usually don't put a whole lot of stock in public reports since I'm not sure how observant and objective they are when put in a stressful or exciting situation (i.e. reporting an event which most people never see -- a tornado).
 
Certainly the radar showed there was some convection in the area - despite whether folks noticed it or not. The sun probably was shining - it was late in the afternoon, with a low sun angle to the southwest (and there were no clouds that direction). Had they looked toward the northeast - they would have noticed the cloud. Anyhow - hard to convince myself the 'boundary' is evident from the reflectivity image only given by the NWS - but I'll give them the benefit of doubt that they checked velocity data as well. Certainly a dryline was advancing - and there was a dying shower on the southeast flank of another developing shower that could have sent an outflow boundary to intersect with the dryline and become caught up in the updraft - which would likely have been tilted sharply given the strong low-level shear and weak instability. Improbable, yes, but clearly not impossible it was a landspout as advertised.

As for Scott's report - agree there isn't clear photographic evidence it was a tornado in what he showed us, and there wasn't a report in the SPC log - but maybe we should wait for his full story before assuming it wasn't genuine.

Glen

[edit]
Thinking about this event reminds me of a storm I saw near Roswell, NM back in 1999, where the surface tornado contact was well seperated (by several miles) from the parent storm. Here are some pics:

My vid capture from the east looking west:
http://www.atmos.uiuc.edu/~romine/gallery/...ather/rosw1.gif

Thom Trimble's much more dramatic view of the same tornado from the southwest looking northeast:
http://tornado.sfsu.edu/geosciences/StormC...dissipation.JPG

Yesterday's tornado may have looked much the same, with a funnel sticking out the side of the convection, not continuous to the ground, and a surface vortex well seperated from the parent storm.

[/edit]
 
Originally posted by Jeff Snyder
Bill,

I do think much of the public would say "out of nowhere" if it isn't rainy or overcast where they are. We all know that supercell tornadoes are associated with the updraft and thus often occur away from the precipitation core. If it's an isolated supercell, and the funnel is tilted, you could be hit by a tornado, look up, and see mostly blue (since the precip and clouds are downwind for your location). I usually don't put a whole lot of stock in public reports since I'm not sure how observant and objective they are when put in a stressful or exciting situation (i.e. reporting an event which most people never see -- a tornado).

Yeah, I kind of jumped the gun and started making comments just made on the news clip hype befor Mike put out a radar image. They were pretty much stating no storm was around. In actuality after reading the NWS report above the radar link it wasn't really even a storm - just a small shower. This is really kind of an interesting event. It seems it is a "tornado" type event but associated with weak boundaries caused by a small localized nearby shower. It almost sound like virga type precip where the evaporation causes lots of nearby turbulance and rather than straight line wind damage the boundary outflow from this shower somehow produces a shear vortex which does some minor damage. Very interesting indeed it seems.

But yeah, I agree the public and the media would probably discount the nearby storm if the tube came out of the cloud and no precip and storm around them - at least to some degree. It seems however in this case that it wasn't much of a storm. Apparently it was just a small thin cloud that was just enough to drop some weak rain.

Too bad we don't have a picture or video of the cloud / vortex.
 
Originally posted by Glen Romine
As for Scott's report - agree there isn't clear photographic evidence it was a tornado in what he showed us, and there wasn't a report in the SPC log - but maybe we should wait for his full story before assuming it wasn't genuine.

Glen

I agree. I made a clear point not to say he didn't see one - only pointed out I was unable to see from the photos. I elaborate more in the actual reports thread and provided some suggestions for him.

I should also point out I have lots of photos or even videos of torns that in person visually with my eyes I could definitely tell something was going on and there was interaction with the ground, but the photo / video evidence won't show it. A good example was at night last June 9th with David Douglas in the direction of Dickens and a known tornadic storm. We saw a weak landspout with clear lowering of cloud material but the vid cam / photos did a poor job of showing the detail. I may try and post and example.
 
Originally posted by Glen Romine

Thinking about this event reminds me of a storm I saw near Roswell, NM back in 1999, where the surface tornado contact was well seperated (by several miles) from the parent storm. Here are some pics:

My vid capture from the east looking west:
http://www.atmos.uiuc.edu/~romine/gallery/...ather/rosw1.gif

Thom Trimble's much more dramatic view of the same tornado from the southwest looking northeast:
http://tornado.sfsu.edu/geosciences/StormC...dissipation.JPG


Nice shots. That second link which shows the long snakey rope reminds me a a tornado we had here in Cedar Park 3 or 4 years ago near my home. I was chasing it and it did damage to a subdivsion. I was unable to see where it made contact with the ground though due to hills / trees. But it was a seriously long snaking funnel / tornado that seemed to go on forever up into the cloud and back out with curved / bent areas - all mostly horizontal.

I know that most associate long narrow tornadoes as "rope stage" and decay stage for a tornado, but I'm not sure if that is always true. Seems sometimes that's how they start as well as how they end. They don't always become some full blow angle shaped vortex. In these cases they appear to be just be extensions of the circulations way up in the cloud. Of course that's what all tornadoes are, but they just seem like homogenous tubes throughout the length all the way up into the parent storm.
 
Radar and plotted location reports:





The times are about 10 minutes before report (second picture is same time as Mike posted from TOP.) I'd say landspout since we know there was moist convection and an updraft/convergence to stretch/tilt the existing environmental voriticty.

Thanks to www.Allisonhouse.com for the radar files!

-Scott Olson.
 
When I first saw that report after my chase, I started looking at radar and did not see something that would indicate a tornado. I'll agree with the landspout idea. That sort of makes me eager to see if there was damage with Scott's catch. Evidence supports a tornado could have occurred in that region, as the storm was discrete at that instant.

I forgot that January was the tornado-less month in KS.
 
There was a time when these "undetectable" tornadoes were rare, but it's been made obvious over the years that they really aren't. We saw one June 4 in Kansas. And then there was the freak tornado in SW Oklahoma back in October of 2000. These are but a few instances, and history has shown it's anything but unheard of for a doppler radar to miss a tornado.

IMO, the NWS needs to exercise less skepticism and start trusting the folks who call in. And while we're on the subject, if "spotter" is a word that, when attached to a report, draws skepticism, the NWS need only take a moment and realize they trained those spotters. Seems it's more about "wait until something bad happens then believe it" instead of "take the report and act on it and if nothing happens - that's good." Maybe people should stop reporting severe weather and start reporting damage.

I'm tired of the "crying wolf" argument; people don't pay attention 95% of the time anyway, and the ones who are wise enough to actually heed weather warnings won't be discouraged by a false report here and there.
 
I wasn't planning to chase Saturday, but local EMD was discussing the storms in Clay Co. when I got off the river from kayaking so I bit and went spotting for him.

I did see a very distinct funnel to the NW of Manhattan, but it was short-lived. Beyond that initial sighting, there were times where weak, low-level rotation could be seen on the backsides of a couple of the cells.

I won't doubt Scott's report from farther north of me, as there was certainly a stronger cell around the Marshall Co. line. Had I not been out there it would have been tough to believe, but this was not an average storm day.

As for the reports from farther south, it would not surprise me if there was a weak tornado associated with some of those cells, but the ones in Morris County seemed more potent than those further SW.
 
"IMO, the NWS needs to exercise less skepticism and start trusting the folks who call in."

Spoken from someone who has never been on that end of a spotter report phone ;>
 
Back
Top