Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Last Weekend Had Us Spinning

It ended up being a pretty good weekend for Utah storm chasers with two tornadoes reported yesterday in the state, one at Strawberry Reservoir, the other near Snowville.

There were a number of good videos of the Strawberry Reservoir tornado, including the one below.

If desired, you could call this a waterspout, which is a tornado that forms over water or moves from land to water.  It would probably rate as an EF0 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, with winds of 65-85 mph.

I haven't seen any video of the Snowville tornado, but the NWS reported that pictures to broadcast media suggested a brief touchdown with no damage or injuries.

The most impressive storm of the weekend was a mesocyclone that was observed by radar near Elko, Nevada, illustrated in the loop below.

A mesocyclone is a rotating thunderstorm and one can see the rotation in the Doppler velocity imagery above.  Note the transition from bright green to dark red over a short distance.  The bright greens are toward the radar, the dark reds are away from the radar, consistent with cyclonic (counter-clockwise) rotation.  This was a really unusual storm in that it is moving southwestward.  Most mesocyclones that I've seen in the Great Basin have been produced in southerly or southwesterly flow.

Such storms can sometimes produce tornadoes, but I did not see a report of one in the National Weather Service reports I sifted through this morning. 

I'm pleased to report that while no tornadoes were spotted at my house, we got a decent dousing of rain.  Anything this time of year is a treat and a blessing.

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