Philip Duncan discusses the tornado that ripped through Albany on Tuesday with NZHerald.co.nz
on 3/05/2011 10:13am
just before this storm hit I was talking to a friend of mine out of town.. and telling him I think something is about to happen!
Our home is based in Mt Wellington on a small ridge so we get reasonably clear views all around and I could see this beast of a cell approaching both visually and on the satellite imagry / rain radar sites and of course the lightning trackers.
I did comment to my mate how weird the sky looked. The sky was awfully black at high altitude whereas there was also very low altitude clouds that seemed to be scooting by at about 50-100m at a slightly different angle to the higher altitude heavy clouds.
What was even more odd was that the wind being pushed ahead of the main cell was quite cold – it had that chilled feeling and had that cold smell (if you can describe it). Felt very strange as we normally expect warmer damp winds from the North – this wind felt like it was a bitter southerly Could this have been chilled air descending from very high altitude being pushed down ahead of the storm – as in a gust front or forward flank downdraft??
Next thing – about 15min later reports started hitting about the tornado – and I could see the main part of the squall over to the west with very unsettled air / smaller funnel clouds forming and dissipating very quickly.
on 4/05/2011 12:00am
yes, descending cold air is one of the features needed in a rotating thunderstorm (mesocyclone) to keep the whole system that forms and maintains the tornado keep on going. Sometimes that cold descending air can form a “hole” in the cloud (i.e brighter conditions at least), because its descending drier air.
When chasing tornadoes, seeing that forward flank downdraft can mean a tornado could form at any time (from a nearby wall cloud (cloud lowering (due to lower air pressure resulting from the strong updrafts))
on 3/05/2011 8:11am
Cool video, thanks for the info, Its very still here in Te Puke, but sounds like we could be some more rain tonight, may be some thunder?