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4/13/09 REPORTS: WA

Billy Griffin

First, I'd like to direct you to to a link of the video clips shot from a few low-topped, highly sheared cells in western WA on Monday...

Be sure to look at the cloud feature near 1:42 - 1:55 in the video.

Please select the 4/13 Enumclaw, WA file.


So here's the dilemna: The outlook for Monday indeed called for scattered thunderstorms over much of western WA. The PSCZ was expected to become very active, and even the mention of "cold air funnels" was made in the forecast discussion earlier that day.

This video was shot around 2pm just east of the town of Enumclaw, up against the Cascade foothills. What I observed, and still believe to be, was a very weak, and short-lived cold air funnel formation. Note the video clips around one minute and 45 seconds in.

However, the local NWS office refused to accept this report and the local media was not interested in this, but more interested in reporting thunder that was heard, without any known confirmation of lightning detection. :confused:
And it's quite different here in Seattle than in Oklahoma... seems the media will NOT report anything until first getting the local NWS office's approval or "verification." The TV METS seem quite intimidated and afraid to report anything until it is 100% confirmed by the NWS. Some may agree that's the way it should be, others may like the competitiveness of the Midwest Wx teams. But here, I swear you could have a visible tornado on the ground with streaming coverage, and the local media would not even take your feed until they received the blessing of 10 NWS METs at SEA NWS. Different, I'll say that.

Regarding the video in questions... Yes, I understand the video is from a distance, and there's no visible way to verify sustained rotation. The rain quickly obscured this formation from my view, in addition to it quickly falling apart.

Just wanted to throw this out here for some discussion and to get others' thoughts on what the formation might be. The formation of the lowering was certainly in tune with the cell as it appeared on radar. BVs were unable to pick up any signs of rotation, but this is typical with short-lived, cold air funnels anyway.

Thoughts? What do you think it is / might be?

I dismissed 'scud' simply because you can certainly tell it is indeed attached to the cloud base and more 'solid' a formation.

BTW - pea size hail accompanied this storm, as did wind gusts ~ 30mph.
Not bad for an early April storm in Washington!

Thanks, everyone!
Sorry for the FLV files. Some are reporting that they cannot view this particular video clips because it's rendered as a Flash Video file. I will convert to QuickTime and hopefully have it viewable within 15 minutes.

Looking forward to your opinions!

* * * * * Video has now been uploaded as a QuickTime file as well.
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RealPlayer just worked for me. Then again, I'm running the most recent version.

That sure as heck appears like a funnel to me. That same day down here about an hour south, we had some towers go up & was very fascinating to watch the low level winds corkscrew them as the rose. Unfortunately for me, they would rise & collapse - never sustaining for long.

Good catch of the day! Wish I hadn't had to work & could have been waiting on the PSCZ with ya.

It's not easy catching anything up here. Between the 100 foot trees everywhere, poor N/S roads, and VERY limited storm life and environment - no small feat indeed.

....just watched it again. Yup. I'd put money on it. The longevity & way it behaved - more than scud.

What time was that at?
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Thanks, Keith! Feels like an accomplishment of sorts. Heck, the way I look at it, any type of phenomena associated with convection, captured on video here in the great Pacific NW, is a "catch" at least.

It was an enjoyable afternoon just watching those cells go up, although if we had only had some 70+ degree surface heating in a cold core environment like that !!!!!

I wish I would have had better (tripod) video of it and it would have lasted a bit longer than 20 seconds, but you get what you get, I guess.

Interested to hear others' thoughts...........