Surprising Landspout!

Last Thursday afternoon, we had a landspout tornado touch down just to the east of Fountain.  The conditions for the production of one of these types of tornadoes, let alone any kind of tornado, were less than ideal.  Temperatures were in the 50s, dewpoints were in the low 30s, and one of the last things in our weather thoughts was something like this.  However, a weak boundary extended from near Fountain to Ellicott.  Wind was out of the south at 15 to 25 mph in CO Springs, and out of the east at 10 mph in Ellicott.  Despite the lack of moisture and heating, we got a t-storm to develop and interact with the shear on this boundary.  Impressive that given the meager conditions, something like this developed.  It was rated an EF0, with wind of 85 mph. 

Something like a landspout should not be confused with a supercell tornado.  The pictures below show the difference.  Our landspout shows the funnel actually appearing to rise from the ground to the cloud.  You can see through the funnel, and this is due to the dry air and high cloud bases.  However, the funnel was strong enough that it did eventually suck the dirt up to the cloud base making the landspout visible from miles around...

I've seen some strange weather days, but this one takes the cake.  At the time the images below were taken, heavy snow was falling fifteen miles to the west...

 

 

Chief Meteorologist Brian Bledsoe

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