Information on Tuesday's Tornadoes

Tuesday has been a tragic day for tornadoes. We know there were fatalities in Greenfield, Iowa, but officials have not released a number. Based on radar/height estimations as well as wind speeds from a nearby mobile Doppler, that tornado was almost certainly an EF-4 tornado and might -- emphasis on "might" -- have broken the 11 year streak without an EF-5. 

The video above is from Dr. Reed Timmer's drone. It is simply amazing. You see multiple "suction vortices" moving around the main tornado (lighter areas of rotation) as well as tiny vortices. You can also see water from the wet ground denoting the tornado's inflow. And, at lower right, you see a wind turbine crumple before the visible part of the tornado arrives. 

There was a  mobile Doppler radar in the area (below).
Based on preliminary data, they measured winds of 215 mph about 600 ft. above the ground. That is above the 200 mph EF-5 threshold but remember the EF-5 scale is a damage scale and the damage is rated at ground level. Stay tuned!

The forecasts have been exceptional for this event including a NWS rare "particularly dangerous situation" tornado watch. Only one or two of these are issued per year and there are years without any. 

I published the above forecast on the blog at 1:10pm and it was, unfortunately, nearly perfect. The first tornado occurred seven minutes after the forecast went into effect and it encompassed all of the strong tornadoes of which we are aware at this moment. There was no tornado watch out for the area in question at that time.
[4:40pm Wednesday: the red dots are tornado locations. More will be added as damage surveys continue.]

Wednesday should have a lesser tornado threat. I'll cover it in the morning and I also have some interesting features I hope to get on the blog as soon as we can get a break in the violent weather. 

Finally, here is another tornado video that is in the, "what was he thinking?!" category. A truck driver stops on the side of the road, short of the tornado. Good! A second truck zooms by and disappears into the storm. We don't know what happened to him. But, unfortunately, like the wind turbine, the truck was toppled well outside of the radius of the visible funnel. This is why people should be in shelter during a tornado warning. Tornadoes are dangerous and don't always behave as we would expect. 

P.S., Woman says she watched the radar/storm warnings, ran for cover, prayed (for the first time in her life) and her family and a friend's family was safe. Video, here. Hope she makes a habits of watching the weather when tornadoes are forecast and praying!

P.P.S.  The distance from Greenfield to Ames is 66 miles. 


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