Tornado "Valley," WA Cold Air Funnels

Billy Griffin

Experienced another cold air funnel event today with at least 5 sighted over the Puyallup / Carbon River valley here south of Seattle.

While the meteorological definition is clear on cold air funnels and their origin, I'm wondering if there's some type of "magic spot" for the development of these over the Puyallup River Valley here near Orting / South Prairie, Washington? For instance, perhaps the unique topography of the surrounding area helps these things form so often and quickly? Most certainly, the sharp elevation changes might influence surface wind patterns in nearby convective storms. In addition, we have Mt. Rainier just 20 miles south of us (14,411 ft. volcano)!

While observing these today, I had a few quick conversations with local folk who have lived here for years, and their comments were that these are really not rare at all, and that they actually happen quite often, with some recently even touching down over the past several years.

Obviously, these are relatively insignificant, but is a really unique weather feature for this part of Washington. My goal now is to hopefully catch one with Mt. Rainier in the background! ;)

Anyone else experience unique topographical influences on the weather where you live?