Thursday, April 14, 2011

Awesome Photo of Rotating Wall Cloud in SW Tulsa Earlier

The above image of a rotating wall cloud was captured in SW Tulsa, near Woodland Hills Mall off of 71st street and South Memorial, earlier this evening.  It roughly corresponds with the radar image below, with a classic hook echo / tornado signature:

Tulsa, you need to thank the good Lord this evening.  The above scenario could have played out as a disaster of major proportions.


Jenny said...

Wow, we were just down the street to the west of where that photo was taken, huddled in the storm shelter at the mall. I'm glad I couldn't see THAT going on outside! Thank God it never materialized! What is it about some storms that for all purposes look like they should put a tornado down (like this one) and yet don't?

Rob In Texas said...

Jenny, thanks for the note. Funny you should ask. I'm actually working on a detailed post on this subject, hopefully to come later this week.

You are right, this storm had all of the 'classic' earmarks of a violent tornado-producer (both on radar and visually at ground level), but yet nothing touched down (at least nothing that was seen and reported by a human eye).

One of the mysteries of the weather, for sure...

Jenny said...

I have another question if you don't mind. :-) I'm from OKC but have lived in Tulsa for the last 4 years. I can't help but notice that this time of year it seems that the lovely dry lines like to form just to the west of Tulsa, in between the cities, giving us a much higher risk of severe storms than OKC, if I understand correctly. Why do you think that is? I know OKC has it's fair share of storms, but they don't call NE OK "Green Country" for nothing. ;-)

Rob In Texas said...

Jenny, thats a very astute observation. While the "classic" high plains dryline typically forms West of OKC, you are right in that many times thunderstorms don't actually form until the boundary is East of the city.

This can occur for many reasons (i.e., time at which the temperature reaches the point necessary for thunderstorms to form along the boundary, time at which an upper-level disturbance reaches the boundary and aids in thunderstorm developmet, strength of the capping inversion, etc.).

It is also theorized that in a pattern much like we currently find ourselves (i.e., drought or near drought conditions), the dry ground over the high plains region often results in the dryline surging Eastward faster (as if to be in search of moist ground, as you alluded to in your 'green country' comment). There was recently an interesting post on how droughts can influence severe thunderstorm & tornado production on Patrick Marsh's blog: