Tuesday, May 27, 2014

We're Not Sure If There Was A Tornado In Rutland, Vermont Today, But YIKES!

This afternoon, I did something that a native Vermonter like me rarely does: I called my relatives around Rutland, Vermont to see if their houses had been blown away in a tornado.  
From @bakingmama via Twitter: A likely wall cloud over
Rutland, Vermont. A tornado warning was in effect
for the city at the time the picture was taken.  

It turns out my parents and my sisters didn't get caught in a tornado, but there might have been a twister in or near Rutland.

A supercell thunderstorm moved northwest to southeast across Addison and Rutland counties, and radar showed strong rotation over Rutland County.

Photos on Twitter showed a structure in the thunderstorm as it arrived in Rutland City that looked to me like a wall cloud.

A wall cloud is a low, ugly, rotating cloud in supercell thunderstorms that often, but not always, produce tornadoes.

Meteorologists with the National Weather Service in South Burlington said they would head down to Rutland County on Wednesday to see if any wind damage down that way was due to a tornado.

There's no question the Rutland region suffered damage in the supercell. (Almost all supercells cause storm damage, with or without tornadoes)

Winds of 74 mph were reported in Bridport. There have been reports of damage to the Price Chopper supermarket in downtown Rutland.

Much, much hail fell around Rutland. Many of the stones were golf ball sized or maybe even a little bigger. I'm sure a lot of gardeners are bummed about the damage. And maybe some car owners as well.
Lots of hail in Rutland today as a supercell
thunderstorm with a tornado warning swept through.

An odd weather pattern contributed to the formation of the Rutland County supercell and the possible tornado.

Southwesterly wind brought in some moderately humid air into southwestern Vermont, which is not odd for this time of year.

A cold front was approaching Vermont, again not weird at all. What was weird is the the cold front was coming in from the northeast. Usually, cold fronts come in from the west or northwest.

The cold front coming in from the weird direction apparently caused winds to shift direction with height in the atmosphere over Vermont.

That must have been the ingredients to set the the Rutland County supercell spinning, and setting off a possible tornado.

The so-called backdoor cold front continued to cause odd, sometimes somewhat dangerous weather in Vermont into the evening. Flash flood warnings were in effect in far southern parts of the state.

Where I live in St. Albans, the weather in the evening abruptly turned chilly, and we had a strange combination of dense fog and thunder.

This is the second time this month the National Weather Service in South Burlington has had to issue a rare tornado warning in Vermont. A couple of Saturdays ago, radar detecting spinning in a storm over central Vermont.

That storm did cause some wind damage near Craftsbury, but an investigation by National Weather Service meteorologists showed the damage was caused by a microburst, not a tornado.

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