The "Landspout" Fad

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I started noticing television and NWS meteorologists mistakenly calling "regular" tornadoes "landspouts" a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, the mis-naming of landspouts has reached epidemic proportions. I posted a piece this morning, got to Kansas City this afternoon, turned on the TV (wanted to hear about JLN's tornado) and .... "landspout." Which is clearly was not.

Details here: To Meteorologists: Regarding "Landspouts" - [4:05pm, Addition]

And, unfortunately, given what happened in 2011 with the poor quality warnings that led to very many deaths, the tornado warning this afternoon came out after the tornado was in progress.
 

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I have also noticed an uptick in the number of tornadoes being reported as landspouts, but I see it from a different perspective than you do, Mike. I think that in reality a lot of tornado reports from years past (especially those on the high plains on low-SPC-swody1 days) were landspouts, but since the category distinction wasn't being made, it made the days with lots of landspouts appear to be quasi-tornado-outbreaks. An example is from May 2021: SPC Severe Weather Event Review for Saturday May 22, 2021. 10 tornado reports in CO, but I think every one of them were landspouts.

I, for one, am glad to see this distinction being made, and I hope more is done to address the mesocyclonic/landspout tornado distinction in forecasts and verification.

I am not arguing that landspouts are not tornadoes. They definitely are.

However, I think it is well accepted at this point that landspout tornadoes are typically short-lived and weak and rarely do anything more than minor damage, and are a much reduced threat to human life and property compared to mesocyclonic tornadoes. And I sense that SPC and NWS are trying to offer this distinction as a way to structure the warning of people about "twisty things on the ground" - not all twisty things are life-threatening emergencies. And I think it's easy to argue that landspouts are predominantly in the category of "twisty things that are not life-threatening emergencies" like mesocyclonic tornadoes are. Thus that's probably why you're starting to see more distinction made. Again, I think that's a good thing.
 
Hi Jeff,

It has taken us, literally, 60 years to get people to understand the difference between watch and warning. I don't know if you saw my post from the chaser staying in the hotel when a tornado warning was issued at 3a. He asked when they were going to sound the alarm for the guests and the front desk person said, "They [the mysterious "they" in meteorology] only recommend sheltering when it is a tornado emergency." This is the danger of "uneducating" people with different categories of TOR.

To be clear, I'm talking about tornadoes from supercells which are not landspouts ( https://glossary.ametsoc.org/wiki/Landspout ). The appearance of a tornado (from a supercell) is an inadequate way to judge intensity.

For genuine landspouts (under a cold air pocket at 500mb), it is fine with me to handle those with a special weather statement. I don't want to see us institute a "landspout warning" as it will just confuse the public more.
 
While I question whether some of these are actually landspouts (the ones that were produced by thunderstorms with considerable lightning), I do like the way OMA handled communicating the threat.
 

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1717344892682.png We had this early this spring. Did damage to homes and businesses. It was rated EF-1. I don't know what the answer is, but from a social aspect I do not believe our current methods are working. We continue to add layers that further confuses the people it is designed to protect.
 
Genuine landspouts can and should be handled in this manner.
 

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I notice today's SPC storm reports starts off with a landspout report. I think I've seen others on the reports this year. That's a new thing, isn't it? The report from 0052Z names the spotter. I've not seen that before. Interesting. Finally, have any of you others noticed how many OTA mets have used (abused) the term spinup? Ad nauseum, I might add, because that's not what they really mean. It's bugging me.
 
I started noticing television and NWS meteorologists mistakenly calling "regular" tornadoes "landspouts" a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, the mis-naming of landspouts has reached epidemic proportions. I posted a piece this morning, got to Kansas City this afternoon, turned on the TV (wanted to hear about JLN's tornado) and .... "landspout." Which is clearly was not.

Details here: To Meteorologists: Regarding "Landspouts" - [4:05pm, Addition]

And, unfortunately, given what happened in 2011 with the poor quality warnings that led to very many deaths, the tornado warning this afternoon came out after the tornado was in progress.
Considering that in Colorado there have been EF3 rated "landspouts" that have caused damage, any and all potentially dangerous phenomenon should be warned.
 
It does seem that some of the NWS offices may have some people confused about landspouts. PBZ recently issued a SVR with "LANDSPOUT:pOSSIBLE" but, the text only talked about a gustnado. Preaching to the choir, of course ... but ... not the same thing.
That's only because SW Ontario had predicted the possibility of landspouts which did produce and the system was headed SE
 
That's painting with a broad brush, and I don't believe you mean that literally.
I would say that every tornado that comes from a thunderstorm should be tornado warned and the term landspout -- in this situation -- should be banned regardless of the appearance of the funnel.

They had genuine landspouts in SW Ohio last week (cold air at 500mb). Those were handled with a Special Weather Statement which, I think, is the way to go.
 
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