Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Confirmed Tornado Near Clarksville, TX

The above radar image was taken from the Shreveport, LA radar a few moments ago.  It shows a line of intense thunderstorms extending from extreme southeast Oklahoma to near the Dallas area.  The pink colored polygons show Tornado Warnings that are currently in effect.

At about 5:30 PM CST, a tornado was reported 2 miles North of Clarksville.  Several homes reportedly have roof damage, a semi tractor-trailer was flipped over onto another vehicle, and numerous mobile homes have sustained damage, according to the report.

Below are some damage videos taken from YouTube.  If you look closely at about 9 seconds into the second video, you can see what appears to be a tornadic circulation embedded in rain:

The image below was captured by Jim Bishop:

This storm had excellent warnings for over an hour before the tornado struck, so hopefully residents were seeking shelter.  No injuries have yet been reported - a trend that hopefully will continue.

Unfortunately, this storm is in what I call a radar "no mans land".  While you can see the reflectivity (rain, hail, etc.) just fine in the radar image at the top of the post, the storm is located 95 or more miles away from any particular radar site (i.e,. Shreveport, Ft. Worth, Ft. Smith), which means the radar beam is shooting into the storm at an elevation of about 10,000 feet above ground level.  This doesn't give you a very good idea as to the low-level (i.e,. near ground level) rotation when looking at the wind motion mode of the radar (see illustration below).

Due to Earth's curvature, radar beam shoots increasingly higher into a
storm as it gets further away from the radar site.

Situations like this prove that a ground-based storm spotter program is still critical, even in this highly technical age.

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