buckeye05

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Anyone remember the Cool, TX EF1 of March 7, 2016? Probably not, but it was a QLCS tornado that never had a tornado warning issued.

What was truly bizarre was the way the local NWS office handled it. There was a clear tornadic circulation on radar, but the WFO refused to acknowledge a tornado threat. Instead, they issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning noting that it was capable of producing “rotating tornado like winds”.

After digging around trying to find out what this was about, I heard from a met on another forum that had an idea of what was going on. Apparently there is a small group of people within the professional meteorology field that believe that QLCS tornadoes are not “true tornadoes”, but a separate phenomenon. So it became apparent that there was at least one employee at the WFO responsible for that warning that was imposing this viewpoint into the warning text, and refused to acknowledge this event as a true tornado as it was occurring. One of the most insane things I’ve ever heard of.

Anyone else ever heard of this? It’s mind boggling to me.

Edit: After viewing a radar loop of the event, it appears that a tornado warning was actually issued, but not until the tornado was exiting town.
 
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locomusic01

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The area that might be scoured soil also looks like there may have been some sort of Philadelphia-esque trenches dug, or it could just be remains of trees, not sure. Probably just my imagination getting ahead of me yet again.
Yeah, it's just bits of trees. The man who lived on the farm just west of this one said clumps of trees near the center of the path were "shredded like a paper shredder." I did find a few independent accounts from the Niles-Wheatland tornado that sound suspiciously like Philadelphia-type trenches (probably not as extensive based on descriptions), but no photos of them yet.

I think I also might've found a tornado southeast of Alliance, OH that wasn't documented. One person who lived north of Homeworth said they saw a pretty large cone; they couldn't see the lowest portion of it but they thought it was on the ground for at least a few minutes. Another woman said she remembered a swath of trees being snapped and twisted pretty badly along the Mahoning River in the same general area. Probably impossible to 100% verify at this point, but pretty interesting.
 

locomusic01

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Anyone remember the Cool, TX EF1 of March 7, 2016? Probably not, but it was a QLCS tornado that never had a tornado warning issued.

What was truly bizarre was the way the local NWS office handled it. There was a clear tornadic circulation on radar, but the WFO refused to acknowledge a tornado threat. Instead, they issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning noting that it was capable of producing “rotating tornado like winds”.

After digging around trying to find out what this was about, I heard from a met on another forum that had an idea of what was going on. Apparently there is a small group of people within the professional meteorology field that believe that QLCS tornadoes are not “true tornadoes”, but a separate phenomenon. So it became apparent that there was at least one employee at the WFO responsible for that warning that was imposing this viewpoint into the warning text, and refused to acknowledge this event as a true tornado as it was occurring. One of the most insane things I’ve ever heard of.

Anyone else ever heard of this? It’s mind boggling to me.
That's absurd and should've led to some sort of discipline if that's what happened. There are definitely people who subscribe to that school of thought (one of the former mets at BGM once told me the same thing), but I've never heard of refusing to issue a tornado warning on those grounds.
 

buckeye05

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That's absurd and should've led to some sort of discipline if that's what happened. There are definitely people who subscribe to that school of thought (one of the former mets at BGM once told me the same thing), but I've never heard of refusing to issue a tornado warning on those grounds.
I can’t understand how any professional meteorologist would even subscribe to that school of thought. There have been countless examples of QLCS tornadoes caught on video which show a clear condensation funnel from the cloud to the ground (Beavercreek 2015, El Reno 2019, Kokomo 2013, and Naperville 2021 just to name a few off the top of my head). Videos of these events show a violently rotating column of air extending from the cloud base to the ground.

That is by definition, a tornado. I don’t see how it’s even debatable. Where is this insane theory even coming from? At best, it seems like semantics, and at worst, totally detached from reality.

Do you know if this viewpoint is gaining any traction recently, or is more or less outdated/not well received and losing traction?
 
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locomusic01

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I can’t understand how any professional meteorologist would even subscribe to that school of thought. There have been countless examples of QLCS tornadoes caught on video which show a clear condensation funnel from the cloud to the ground (Beavercreek 2015, El Reno 2019, Kokomo 2013, and Naperville 2021 just to name a few off the top of my head). Videos of these events show a violently rotating column of air extending from the cloud base to the ground.

That is by definition, a tornado. I don’t see how it’s even debatable. Where is this insane theory even coming from? At best, it seems like semantics, and at worst, totally detached from reality.

Do you know if this viewpoint is gaining any traction recently, or is more or less outdated/not well received and losing traction?
The only coherent argument I've ever heard is that QLCS tornadoes are generally weak and/or transitory and hard to warn effectively (either you miss too many real tornadoes or you fire off too many false alarms), so it's better from a public messaging standpoint to fold them into severe warnings. The idea being that a severe warning implies the potential for destructive winds anyway, so the difference is moot.

There are some obvious issues with that line of thinking (not the least of which being that some QLCS tornadoes are very much not weak or transitory), although I get the logic of it. But even if you subscribe to that philosophy, it doesn't mean that they're actually distinct phenomena or that you shouldn't issue a tornado warning when warranted. It just means you don't aggressively try to warn every little thing that could possibly be a brief spin-up.

Anyway, there's some merit to the basic idea but some people seem to take it to an illogical extreme. I don't think it's all that prevalent though, and the guy I mentioned is the only one I can recall who actually viewed them as two distinct things.
 
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Yeah, it's just bits of trees. The man who lived on the farm just west of this one said clumps of trees near the center of the path were "shredded like a paper shredder." I did find a few independent accounts from the Niles-Wheatland tornado that sound suspiciously like Philadelphia-type trenches (probably not as extensive based on descriptions), but no photos of them yet.

I think I also might've found a tornado southeast of Alliance, OH that wasn't documented. One person who lived north of Homeworth said they saw a pretty large cone; they couldn't see the lowest portion of it but they thought it was on the ground for at least a few minutes. Another woman said she remembered a swath of trees being snapped and twisted pretty badly along the Mahoning River in the same general area. Probably impossible to 100% verify at this point, but pretty interesting.
I don't doubt that there were many weaker (F0-F1) tornadoes that occurred that day that weren't documented, as that was pretty typical for most tornado outbreaks until the 1990s or so. It also wouldn't surprise me if there were a bunch of satellite tornadoes that occurred with many of the major tornadoes that day that weren't documented
 

MNTornadoGuy

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Anyone remember the Cool, TX EF1 of March 7, 2016? Probably not, but it was a QLCS tornado that never had a tornado warning issued.

What was truly bizarre was the way the local NWS office handled it. There was a clear tornadic circulation on radar, but the WFO refused to acknowledge a tornado threat. Instead, they issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning noting that it was capable of producing “rotating tornado like winds”.

After digging around trying to find out what this was about, I heard from a met on another forum that had an idea of what was going on. Apparently there is a small group of people within the professional meteorology field that believe that QLCS tornadoes are not “true tornadoes”, but a separate phenomenon. So it became apparent that there was at least one employee at the WFO responsible for that warning that was imposing this viewpoint into the warning text, and refused to acknowledge this event as a true tornado as it was occurring. One of the most insane things I’ve ever heard of.

Anyone else ever heard of this? It’s mind boggling to me.

Edit: After viewing a radar loop of the event, it appears that a tornado warning was actually issued, but not until the tornado was exiting town.
I can't find any mentions of the "rotating tornado-like winds" wording on the severe tstm warnings in my archives of the Cool TX tornado. I did hear from an SPC forecaster on Twitter once that he believes there is an "overuse and focus on QCLS tornadoes." cool tx.png
 

buckeye05

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I can't find any mentions of the "rotating tornado-like winds" wording on the severe tstm warnings in my archives of the Cool TX tornado. I did hear from an SPC forecaster on Twitter once that he believes there is an "overuse and focus on QCLS tornadoes." View attachment 10022
Weird. I hope it’s not a false memory or that I’m confusing two unrelated events. But I distinctly remember there being the words “tornado-like” in the warning text associated with what was clearly a QLCS spinup, and I remember other weather enthusiasts on a separate forum being totally dumbfounded by the wording.


Edit: I found the forum thread I was remembering but it WAS NOT the Cool, TX tornado that received this strange warning. I mixed up two events, and I’m not sure which one I’m thinking of. All I know is that it was a QLCS tornado that was very similar to the Cool, TX event. Sorry about the confusion. It’s gonna drive me crazy trying to narrow down the event I’m thinking of.
 
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andyhb

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More Oakfield WI content here. Cailyn Lloyd, who was chasing with her family that day, uploaded her full video of the chase.

Her Facebook has a bunch of pics of the tornado throughout its whole lifecycle: https://www.facebook.com/cailyn/photos

 
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I've been trying to save everything for my article, but I can't help myself. One of the other tornadoes that caused notable vegetation damage (and one that I think was underrated) was the Beaver Falls F3. Same one I mentioned earlier re: debris transport. This is from one of the homes where a fatality occurred. The woman's nephew said that a number of trees on the property were stripped bare and some of the grass was torn up.

0WevN04.jpg


He said the family has photos somewhere, so I'm hoping he can locate them and/or I can find some better shots from this property. It actually caused pretty significant damage throughout much of its ~40-mile path.

Do you think quite a few tornadoes from this event were underrated? Do you think that some of the F4s should have been rated F5 or were most ratings appropriate given DIs encountered, etc. I'm sure Moshannon State Forest would have been rated F5 if it tracked through a populated area but thankfully that didn't happen.
 

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Do you think quite a few tornadoes from this event were underrated? Do you think that some of the F4s should have been rated F5 or were most ratings appropriate given DIs encountered, etc. I'm sure Moshannon State Forest would have been rated F5 if it tracked through a populated area but thankfully that didn't happen.
Nothing egregious, really. I think Beaver Falls certainly could've warranted an F4 rating, and potentially in a few different areas. Actually surprised it didn't. Tionesta produced some really impressive contextual damage, but nothing I've found that'd clearly suggest F5. Same for Atlantic-Cherrytree. Neither hit very many structures when they were at their most intense, and even fewer structures were directly in the core of the path. I wouldn't be shocked if one or both reached that intensity at some point, though.

Moshannon's even trickier because there was literally almost nothing substantial in most of its path. Lots of trees obviously, but even then it's hard to get really high-end tree damage in a forest that thick. Some summer/hunting cabins were destroyed but they weren't exactly well-built, and the PermaGrain facility wasn't really struck directly. The vast majority of the significant structural damage was near the beginning of the path, south of Penfield, which is before it really exploded.

The Johnstown, OH F3 is another underrated candidate, and one that I don't think most people know much about. Possibly Saegertown-Centerville as well, but I'm still working on researching that so I'm only basing that on like two properties so far.

Oh! And while I don't necessarily think either was an F5 candidate, both the Barrie and Grand Valley F4s appear to have been more impressive than I'd always assumed before starting my research. Barrie was very likely the stronger of the two, but Grand Valley seems to be largely overshadowed. The thing was on the ground for 72 miles, yet the info/photos most people encounter come almost exclusively from the immediate GV area. It produced some pretty intense damage just based on what I've been able to dig up so far, particularly further east along the path.

For example, this home just south of Tottenham was reportedly "blown away" (except for the toilet) and scattered far downstream.

near-tottenham-david-mcdonald-only-toilet-left.jpg


Obviously can't tell much about the construction here, and the tree in the background being only lightly damaged raises some questions, but the tornado was also quite narrow through this area. Probably not a case of a really well-anchored home being swept away, but even doing this to a home of more modest construction is fairly significant. Not far from this area, the tornado also tossed a combine roughly half a mile and apparently tore it up pretty good. Trying to find out what kind to get an idea of the weight, but figure several tons.
 
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The 5/31/85 outbreak is really interesting to me. Not only because it was one of the first tornado outbreaks I learned about (As a kid I would read Reader's Digest at doctor's offices and at my grandparents' who were subscribed to it, and one issue ran an excerpt from Tornado Watch #211 under the title "Day of the Killer Tornadoes") but because of its extraordinary violence by any standard, but especially for that area of the country. It's not quite on par with a 4/27/11, 4/3/74 or even 4/11/65, but it is like someone took a classic "sub-Super" high-end Plains/Dixie outbreak like 4/26/91, 5/3/99 or 2/5/08 and dropped it into the OH/PA/NY/Ontario region.
 
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Nothing egregious, really. I think Beaver Falls certainly could've warranted an F4 rating, and potentially in a few different areas. Actually surprised it didn't. Tionesta produced some really impressive contextual damage, but nothing I've found that'd clearly suggest F5. Same for Atlantic-Cherrytree. Neither hit very many structures when they were at their most intense, and even fewer structures were directly in the core of the path. I wouldn't be shocked if one or both reached that intensity at some point, though.

Moshannon's even trickier because there was literally almost nothing substantial in most of its path. Lots of trees obviously, but even then it's hard to get really high-end tree damage in a forest that thick. Some summer/hunting cabins were destroyed but they weren't exactly well-built, and the PermaGrain facility wasn't really struck directly. The vast majority of the significant structural damage was near the beginning of the path, south of Penfield, which is before it really exploded.

The Johnstown, OH F3 is another underrated candidate, and one that I don't think most people know much about. Possibly Saegertown-Centerville as well, but I'm still working on researching that so I'm only basing that on like two properties so far.

Oh! And while I don't necessarily think either was an F5 candidate, both the Barrie and Grand Valley F4s appear to have been more impressive than I'd always assumed before starting my research. Barrie was very likely the stronger of the two, but Grand Valley seems to be largely overshadowed. The thing was on the ground for 72 miles, yet the info/photos most people encounter come almost exclusively from the immediate GV area. It produced some pretty intense damage just based on what I've been able to dig up so far, particularly further east along the path.

For example, this home just south of Tottenham was reportedly "blown away" (except for the toilet) and scattered far downstream.

near-tottenham-david-mcdonald-only-toilet-left.jpg


Obviously can't tell much about the construction here, and the tree in the background being only lightly damaged raises some questions, but the tornado was also quite narrow through this area. Probably not a case of a really well-anchored home being swept away, but even doing this to a home of more modest construction is fairly significant. Not far from this area, the tornado also tossed a combine roughly half a mile and apparently tore it up pretty good. Trying to find out what kind to get an idea of the weight, but figure several tons.
I've never been able to find many pictures from Grand Valley, and all the ones I have the damage isn't any more then in the F2-F3 range, this photo is interesting to me for that reason. I do think Grand Valley's path is the longest tornado path ever surveyed in Canada to this day.
 

locomusic01

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The 5/31/85 outbreak is really interesting to me. Not only because it was one of the first tornado outbreaks I learned about (As a kid I would read Reader's Digest at doctor's offices and at my grandparents' who were subscribed to it, and one issue ran an excerpt from Tornado Watch #211 under the title "Day of the Killer Tornadoes") but because of its extraordinary violence by any standard, but especially for that area of the country. It's not quite on par with a 4/27/11, 4/3/74 or even 4/11/65, but it is like someone took a classic "sub-Super" high-end Plains/Dixie outbreak like 4/26/91, 5/3/99 or 2/5/08 and dropped it into the OH/PA/NY/Ontario region.
I'm not sure I can think of a more anomalous event in the historical record. The 1944 Apps outbreak might be the closest comparison, but obviously the scale was much smaller. Also can't help wondering what we might've missed due to Lake Erie (and Ontario to a lesser extent).

And also Lake Simcoe, now that I think about it. From what I can tell, the Barrie F4 actually traveled about as far over the lake (a shade over 6 miles) as it did over land.
 
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locomusic01

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I've never been able to find many pictures from Grand Valley, and all the ones I have the damage isn't any more then in the F2-F3 range, this photo is interesting to me for that reason. I do think Grand Valley's path is the longest tornado path ever surveyed in Canada to this day.
I'm still working on digging up more, but it's been a frustratingly slow process. It seems the Corbetton F3 may have been pretty powerful as well, but that's feeling like even more of a wild goose chase lol
 
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I'm not sure I can think of a more anomalous event in the historical record. The 1944 Apps outbreak might be the closest comparison, but obviously the scale was much smaller. Also can't help wondering what we might've missed due to Lake Erie (and Ontario to a lesser extent).

And also Lake Simcoe, now that I think about it. From what I can tell, the Barrie F4 actually traveled about as far over the lake (a shade over 6 miles) as it did over land.
Interesting, I thought its path ended at Lake Simcoe, seems like that one tornado from the 1953 Waco outbreak that spent most of its life over Lake Michigan so there's way to know for sure how long it lasted. I mentioned further back in this thread that it wouldn't surprise me if several tornadoes touched down on Lake Erie and/or Lake Ontario and weren't recorded because, really, how could track a path entirely over water?
 

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Officially the last damage point was along the shoreline at the Brentwood Marina, but via eyewitness accounts I've been able to track it nearly to the opposite shore in the Shanty Bay/Oro Lea Beach area. Seems like it dissipated basically at the mouth of Kempenfelt Bay.

There are scattered reports of waterspouts on Lake Erie during the outbreak, but I think that's about the best we can do.
 

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