Archive for Sunday, March 12, 2006

Was it a tornado?

Winds clocked at 76 mph, but no official word yet

March 12, 2006

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Although damage was heavy throughout Lawrence, indicating a tornado, this morning's storm has not been declared an "official" tornado, according to Jennifer Schack, 6News meteorologist.

"We're not going to know for awhile because there was not a trained spotter giving us reports," Schack said.

She said there were also no radar indications of a tornado.

Schack said a trained spotter in the Reno area did report a possible tornado, which was reported by the National Weather Service.

Schack said that winds of up to 76 mph were reported in the city of Lawrence at the height of the storm.

"That's high enough for a microburst or a weak tornado," Schack said.

The Fujita Scale for tornadoes gives the following classifications:

¢ FO - 40-72 mph. Light damage; some damage to chimneys, TV antennas, breaks twigs off trees, pushes over shallow-rooted trees.

¢ F1 - 73-112 mph. Moderate damage; peels surface off roofs; windows broken; light trailer homes pushed or turned over; some trees uprooted or snapped; moving automobiles pushed off roadway.

¢ F2- 113-157 mph. Considerable damage; roofs torn off fram houses leaving strong upright walls; weak buildings demolished; trailer houses destroyed; large trees snapped or uprooted; railroad boxcars pushed over; light object missiles generated; cars blow off roadways.

¢ F3 - 158-206 mph. Severe damage; roofs and some walls torn off frame houses; some buildings completely destroyed; trains overturned; steel-framed buildings torn; cars olifted off of the ground; most trees uprooted or snapped and leveled.

¢ F4 - 207-260 mph. Devastaing damage; whole frame houses destroyed leaving downind piles of debris; steel structures badly damaged; trees debarked by small flying debris; cars and trains thrown some distance; large wind blown missiles generated.

¢ F-5- 261-318 mph. Incredible damage; whole fram houses tossed off foundation and blown downwind; steel-reinforced concrete structures badly damaged; automobile-sized missiles generated; incredible phenomena can be expected to occur.

Comments

Shardwurm 9 years, 5 months ago

It's always a pleasure to see the weather experts posting.

winterhart14 9 years, 5 months ago

Uh, folks?

When I look out my front door in NE Lawrence and see a DEBRIS cloud, it's a tornado!

trueninetiesgirl 9 years, 5 months ago

we live of east15th and random rd and we seen the tornado starting and ripped are kids from there beds . to take shelter before we even heard any warnings.....

bluefusion 9 years, 5 months ago

I live at Hillview apartments on the 3rd floor. The lights went out so i went to look out front balcony. To my surprise when i opened the door thousands of leaves was spinning like a top going staight up in the air loud noise then a tree snapped with what I saw Id say a tornado it was loud and the leaves spinning upward.

conserv26 9 years, 5 months ago

I agree, it had to be a tornado. We live in the Prairie Park area and were awakened by a phone call from my mom who lives in Jeff. Co. saying to take cover. As I look out the front door I see shingles from neighboring houses blowing in a circle along with leaves and patio chairs blowing completely sideways and smashing into houses, cars, etc. It was also very loud and felt like the roof was going to blow off. It lasted 3-4 min. and then I went outside and saw the damage. Shingles everywhere along with trash, etc including shingles that smashed into our car :o( The tornado warning didn't sound until it was nearly all over and gone! Way to go city of Lawrence for being prepared, not very impressed. Without the phone call from home we would have slept through it and it could have been much worse...

b_asinbeer 9 years, 5 months ago

gradstudent--get your foot out of your a**, and stop making comments on things you have no clue on.

Ken Lassman 9 years, 5 months ago

Hey, I posted some pictures on the reader's photos that would support something else: a gustnado. That's a kind of tornadic wind that can accompany a microburst, or strong downdraft that combines with a strong front. Read this definition from Wikipedia and see if you don't agree that it really sounds exactly like what we all experienced here this morning:

"A gustnado is a type of short-lived cyclonic circulation that can form with severe thunderstorms. While it derives its name from the tornado, it has very little in common with tornadoes structurally.

Generally, severe thunderstorm winds (58 miles per hour and higher) are needed to generate gustnadoes. Damaging gustnadoes most often form in straight-line wind events and are more prevalent in thunderstorms with winds in excess of 100 miles per hour. They occur when rapidly descending air in a downburst or microburst interacts with the surface. The friction from this interaction forms spinning columns of air, or eddy currents, that can resemble tornadoes to the untrained eye, and can even cause tornado-like damage. To get a general idea of how gustnadoes form, one can picture an area of leaves swirling about on a windy day.

Gustnado circulations are thought to last, on average, no more than a few seconds to a few minutes each, although they may form, dissipate, and others reform so long as the thunderstorm can sustain its high winds.

A gustnado event occurred in Dickenson County, Virginia on July 4, 1997. A supercell thunderstorm formed near Clintwood, Virginia and raced across southwest Virginia at nearly 60 miles per hour. Along its path, wind speeds were estimated to be in excess of 100 miles per hour in some communities. Residents reported seeing tornadoes along the damage path, although most of the damage was of a straight-line nature. It is thought that gustnadoes formed in the downburst from this supercell storm.

A field survey confirmed localized pockets of tornado-like damage in the same path as the straight line wind damage. These smaller areas of tornado-like damage are thought to have been caused by gustnadoes. The storm had a nearly continuous damage path for over 100 miles before finally dissipating near Wytheville, Virginia."

nene 9 years, 5 months ago

We live in Eudora and our church is in Lawrence. We were heading to church at 8 a.m. on 15th Street, when we saw Lawrence getting very dark and lightening flashing. I pulled over and had my daughter get an umbrella from our trunk. As we were coming into Lawrence on 15th by Oak Hill cemetery, I commented how beautiful Frasier Hall looked with the darkness behind it and the sunrise reflected in the windows.

I turned right on Haskell and left on 11th when we noticed the clouds above us dipping and swirling in a circle. I pulled into the Hobbs Field parking lot to watch. The center of the circling clouds was open with sunlight coming through. But since everything was quiet I didn't feel any danger. Then it was gone, heading NE and I proceeded west along 11th .

Suddenly, we saw flashes of light near 11th and Connecticut and I first thought it was more lightening, but then the brown roar of dirt swallowed up the flashes and I realized the flashes were power lines snapping. I pulled into a driveway next to a wooden fence and tried to open my door which faced the approaching tornado. The wind was too strong. My daughter was able to get hers open and I dove out her way. We ran up to a house and started banging on a door, begging to be let in. The door opened and we tumbled in screaming "Tornado". The house was swallowed up in the roar and the woman pulled us into her bath tub explaining that she didn't have a basement.

I have dirt in my mouth and hair and my mind holds the sight of the brown monster roaring toward us on 11th St. Not a tornado? Give me a break!

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