June 12, 2005 funnel - Jayton, Texas

Dan Robinson


This feature appeared while the first Kent County supercell was producing its last tornado (the long-lived rope/stovepipe pictured here: http://wvlightning.com/june122005/june12f4.jpg ). At this time, new convection to the south was beginning to cut off inflow to the first storm. The funnel in the above photos is seen against a backdrop of precip and lightning from the new southern cell.

While the Jayton tornado was ongoing to the west of town, this funnel appeared to the south and persisted for a few minutes. I almost missed seeing it due to the tornado to the west drawing most of my attention.

I was curious if anyone else saw this feature. I'm trying to figure out whether this was a mid-level funnel from the new southern storm, or a feature associated with a new circulation on the old storm. Mid-level funnel was my first assumption, but the condensation tube's length, persistence, vertical orientation and extent toward the surface caused me to reconsider labeling it as such.

The two cells were beginning to merge at this point with the southern cell becoming dominant, so any new meso on the first storm would not have long to live before ingesting rain-cooled air from the southern storm. Small but increasingy larger hail was falling at this time in Jayton.
As I was leaving Jayton to the SE as the rain and hail began to hit Jayton I recall David Douglas in the vehicle with me mentioning a funnel to our west and out his side of the vehicle. I never saw it, but he said it was persistent. I forget if he said it ever touched the ground or not briefly. I'll need to ask.

Now what was it associated with? Good question. Would probably really have to look at radar to tell. As you mentioned it was in the process of a cell merger and that's why we were headed for the southern storm. I think that somehow part of that initial supercell west of Jayton propagated across town to the East or somehow merged and formed a new area of rotation possibly from part of the cloud mass south. Seems there were some tornado warnings issued for the area due east of Jayton for awhile though I don't think any panned out.

I might mention that David and I also saw a similiar funnel as we initially very early on were punching into the eastern core from the north while headed toward Spur to our southwest. This was most likely before the first tornado created by this supercell. Part of the cell extended out the back somewhat to the northwest it appeared - unless my directions were slightly off. The funnel was in the northeast quadrant of the cell, almost on the back side of the precip. Very odd I thought. Maybe some type of landspout trying to form. I dunno.
This funnel did extend at least 80% to the ground. It was confusing because I was looking straight up and I could not tell what upper structure it was associated with. By the time we were heading more to the East on the road out of Jayton, I could not see it in the mirror or out the back window due to the rain.

I've read that sometimes anti-cyclonic funnels and tornadoes form near the RFD while the supercell's main area of rotation is farther north or northeast. I also saw this in the TESSA Super Spotter DVD, I believe it was called the vortex line theory. I'm just wondering if perhaps this funnel was part of an anti-cyclonic component of the supercell?
We were just zipping by it, so I don't remember which way it was spinning. It was also like .... "Yup, just another tornado" after we'd been watching tornados for HOURS like everyone else :shock: