12/28/06 DISC: AZ

Mar 21, 2004
Phoenix, AZ KD7SMQ mobile
My wife very likely saw a cold-core tornado about 11:30 MST on the open indian reservation land northeast of Phoenix. Of course she didn't have a camera with her :( , and I haven't seen any media reports.

Questioned closely, she describes a white opaque funnel narrowing from cloud base to near the ground, a "translucent" area, and a very vigorous whirl on the ground throwing up a lot of dirt. The circulation was close enough to strongly buffet the car as she passed the vicinity, whereas the environmental winds aren't especially strong today. It lasted only a few minutes, not moving very much, and then dissolved.

She has chased and seen real tornados, landspouts, gustnados, etc., plus numerous dust devils. It was a totally unexpected "What-the-h???" sighting for her, as she describes it. Meteorologically it generally corresponds with the passage of the vortmax rounding the closed trough, and the cloudy, showery coolness rules out an obvious boundary heating cause.

Darn! We spend thousands of $$$ and drive thousands of miles to try to see something that drops on your head while you're motoring to your after-Christmas shopping. Try to convince me that God doesn't have a sense of humor.... :)
Sounds like she bagged a live one, for sure. Let me guess...Coconino County?
I've seen several tornadoes in Arizona, as I've lived north of Tucson since '61. My favorite little "alley" is in between Oracle Junction and Florence. Lots of shear out there.
I've learned to keep some kind of camera in my vehicle at all times....even if it's just a cheap one. You never know.
Congrats to your wife! I would probably call it in to the nws and report it.
Is that area somewhere around where the old "Beeline Dragway" used to be?
Seriously, you outta call in a report on it. It might help those forecasters during future events....as they could perhaps corrolate the time of the event with any radar / satellite views that they'll have access to.
Do you ever chase much in your area? Do you happen to have a favorite area that you seem to have more luck than other areas??
The reason that I responded "Coconino County" in my first post is because for the past couple of years, they've had quite a few tornado touchdowns there. It makes you wonder how many actually happen, and either never get seen, or seen but not reported. I've had a feeling about that in extreme southern Az. ......down below the Ajo area. I know I saw one on the ground on my way to Tecate, Baja....and during the monsoon, there are some pretty impressive radar returns from there. A gal in that little blip of a truckstop east of Yuma....Dateland, Az. ....said that a couple of July's ago....she was serving coffee to customers and a tornado went roaring right past them and over that I-8 overpass. Directly below that area is the Barry Goldwater bombing range...which is huge. Nobody is allowed there except the military, of course. And this is all part of the same little "alley" that I mentioned previously.
Geez, if I ever hit the lottery (which would be really lucky, as I never play it) I would sell my business and chase all the time. Oh well...at least it's fun to fantasize about!