Monday, November 16, 2015

Massive, Dangerous Tornadoes Sweeping Texas, Kansas This Evening

Lightning illuminates a huge tornado southwest of Dodge City,
Kansas Tuesday evening. Add caption
As of 8 p.m. EDT some very scary photos and radar images are emerging from Texas and Kansas as what appear to be some massive, dangerous tornadoes are sweeping the region.

All the signatures of very damaging, deadly tornadoes are in the radar images.

Tight rotations, evidence of a lot of debris being flung into the air, and lightning illuminating what appear to be tornadoes up to a mile wide.

So far, the worst tornadoes were near Liberal, Kansas, near Pampa, Texas, and approaching Dodge City, Kansas. Early reports indicate the worst damage so far is south of Pampa, with major structural damage and gas leaks reported.

Some tornado activity has been reported in western Oklahoma and Nebraska, too. At around 8:45 p.m. EST, there were 15 simultaneous tornado warnings and seven confirmed tornadoes on the ground.

That's pretty incredible, as it's rare there's that many known tornadoes spinning at the same time. In that regard, this is one of the more intense tornado outbreaks in recent years.

Scary classic hook echo on radar of what was likely
a big tornado approaching Dodge City, Kanass Tuesday evening. 
Details are still sketchy as I write this at 8:45 p.m EST, but I'm sure there will be a lot of news about this tomorrow.

All the ingredients appear to have come together to produce the tornadoes: Especially strong, high speed jet stream winds, a powerful storm system, air moving in different directions with height, and a massive influx of humid air from the Gulf of Mexico.

Large tornadoes are especially dangerous after dark. You can't really seem them coming, often until they're right on top of you.

These tornadoes are moving fast, too, which can also reduce the time between the moment a warning is issued and the time it hits. That doesn't give much of an opportunity to take shelter.  Let's hope everybody in the region has their weather radios on.

Tornado outbreaks do occasionally hit parts of the nation in November, but these are further to the west than most November tornadoes. If you get a swarm of tornadoes this time of year, it's usually in the Gulf Coast, Tennessee Valley, or parts of the Midwest east of the Mississippi River.

Later tonight, the supercells producing the tornadoes will probably merge into a squall line. That would perhaps reduce the chances of more strong tornadoes, but would probably cause wide areas of damaging straight line winds.

Meanwhile, a blizzard is underway in parts of Colorado, and those blizzard conditions will spread east into western Kansas tonight. I find it incredible that as of 8:30 p.m. EST, there was a blizzard warning just 50 miles west of an active tornado warning.

I don't remember the last time I saw tornado and blizzard warnings in such close proximity. This storm system in the middle of the country is a monster to be respected, for sure.

To add insult to injury, a tornado caused damage in Denair, California yesterday as the same storm system as tonight moved through the west coast.

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