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Supercells & Tornadoes

This is an HP Supercell (high precipitation) taken by Warren Faidley (used with permission):


Odds are, unless you are in the Panhandle, you will never see as nice a view as this. This is however, a great example of a Supercell. Note the size of the cell in comparison to the tornado. This is only the bottom portion of the cell, so you can just imagine the size of this thing. It's also out there all by itself, with the rain shearing out of it to the right, it has plenty of open, unobstructed area to continue to be a raging machine. It is out there on the open plains, with unobstructed view, just spinning around like a giant balloon. Again, unfortunately, we will never see this clear of a shot at any formation in Central Texas.

This is a shot of what the HP would look like from a distance. If you're lucky, you would see this, but once you get close to it, you won't see much in the way of formation:


This is a classic shot of an LP Supercell (Low Precip). You don't see these very often, and they usually don't produce tornadoes, but they can:


This is a couple of examples of your standard wall cloud. Remember, watch it for a minute and see if it is rotating if you're close enough. False reports that are turned in look bad on everyone:


This is a screen capture from Sat. 3/27 in Oklahoma. Note the hook, and then the cut out of the storm attributes below it:


Note the distinctions on the first line, which is this storm. A TVS (Tornado Vortex Signature) at a range of 51 miles from the radar, 100% probability of severe hail , and the hail size-4.00". This is not something you see everyday, though it is common with a good tornado. VIL's of 63, a 72 dbz reflection to the radar, the height at the radar beam sweep20,100, the top height in the beam sweep-39,600 feet, and it is moving ENE (247 degrees) at 25 mph.


This is a phone pic from the guy that was there chasing this one, showing the underside of the supercell. He was having difficulty getting a decent shot with the phone due to no zoom, lighting, etc.


This couldn't be complete without including the "Dead Man Walking" pic from Jarrell. Indian legend has it that if you see the dead man walking, you are about to die. Unfortunately, such was the case for 27 people in Jarrell that afternoon.


Don't be fooled by look alikes either. As you can see, these would fool the best. It helps to watch them for a few minutes before announcing a tornado, Again, another unwanted false report, though an honest mistake:


And always remember, Tornadoes are nothing to take lightly, whether at home, or mobile:

F scale.jpg

Below are some map symbols used in weather charts:


1-Tornado, funnel cloud
2-Thunderstorm in area (no rain at station)
3-Thunderstorm with rain
4-Snow thunderstorm
5-Thunderstorm with freezing rain
6-Thunderstorm with hail or ice
7-Severe thunderstorm in area (no rain at station)
8-Severe thunderstorm with rain
9-Severe snow thunderstorm
10-Severe thunderstorm with freezing rain


11-Severe thunderstorm with hail or ice
12-Moderate or heavy freezing rain
13-Light freezing rain
14-Moderate or heavy rain shower
15-Light rain shower
16-Light rain
17-Moderate rain
18-Heavy rain
19-Light snow shower
20-Moderate or heavy snow shower


21-Light snow
22-Moderate snow
23-Heavy snow
24-Light hail or ice pellets
25-Moderate or heavy hail or ice pellets
26-Moderate or heavy freezing drizzle
27-Light freezing drizzle
28-Light drizzle, mist
29-Moderate drizzle
30-Heavy drizzle


31-Light hail or ice pellet shower
32-Hail or ice pellet shower
33-Ice crystals
35-Blowing snow, blizzard
36-Blowing sand
37-Rain-snow mixture
39-Smoke, smog

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