Storm Spotter Training Workshop
Even if you are not a trained storm spotter, come to this event and learn important storm information,
watch storm video clips, and be better prepared to survive the storms.
This is required training necessary for someone to be a Lancaster County, Nebraska, certified Storm Spotter.
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[00:00:00.173](dramatic tense music)
[00:01:20.171]The National Weather Service's mission
[00:01:22.060]is protection of life and property,
[00:01:25.606]and you're an integral part of that mission.
[00:01:29.499]You provide reports that protect Lancaster County
[00:01:35.059]from dangerous weather, and you're an integral part
[00:01:38.202]of the warning decision-making process
[00:01:40.654]in the National Weather Service.
[00:01:43.854]So, your reports do save lives.
[00:01:49.794]So, we're gonna have a little agenda here.
[00:01:51.431]We're gonna talk about why we need storm spotters.
[00:01:55.976]What is severe weather?
[00:01:59.296]Then we're gonna talk about supercells 101,
[00:02:01.998]and we're gonna talk about one particular type of supercell,
[00:02:06.443]which is the classic supercell thunderstorm.
[00:02:11.961]There are variations of the supercell,
[00:02:14.364]but to start with, we're just gonna talk about
[00:02:16.913]the classic supercell.
[00:02:19.835]We're gonna talk about what to report,
[00:02:23.680]and other thunderstorm hazards.
[00:02:27.437]And we'll also talk about lookalikes,
[00:02:29.947]things that look like severe weather, but really aren't.
[00:02:36.989]And speaking of lookalikes...
[00:02:48.456]Dr. Nefario! (laughs)
[00:02:51.794](audience member mumbles)
[00:02:58.452]That'll be the last time I do storm spotter training, right?
[00:03:05.255]All right, why we need storm spotters.
[00:03:08.699]Bottom line, we're here to save lives, okay?
[00:03:13.192]And it's a meteorologist that makes the decision
[00:03:15.748]whether to warn or not to warn, okay?
[00:03:18.971]It's not the radar.
[00:03:22.512]The radar is a great tool,
[00:03:24.010]but the radar doesn't automatically say,
[00:03:31.354]And it puts out the warning for you, okay?
[00:03:34.471]It doesn't happen that way.
[00:03:38.474]What happens is the meteorologist is interpreting the radar.
[00:03:43.524]He's looking at the radar in different slices,
[00:03:47.304]'cause the radar is rotating around
[00:03:49.871]and it's tilting up with time,
[00:03:53.366]and it's trying to interpret what's happening in that storm.
[00:03:58.960]But equally important is also
[00:04:02.623]what the environment that that storm is in.
[00:04:07.590]There are some storms
[00:04:10.942]that, for example, there may be some supercell storms
[00:04:14.621]that there's no way that that storm's
[00:04:17.942]gonna produce a tornado.
[00:04:21.700]Maybe it's because it's so far north on a warm front
[00:04:24.877]and the cold air, there's no way
[00:04:26.504]surface flow can get into it.
[00:04:28.611]All the air is going in aloft.
[00:04:30.930]And so, all you're gonna get is big hail,
[00:04:35.931]or sometimes, it could be a line of storms,
[00:04:41.161]or maybe all the rear flank downdrafts coming in
[00:04:44.899]are too cold,
[00:04:48.169]too negatively buoyant, cold air coming into it
[00:04:52.472]to produce tornadoes.
[00:04:53.893]So, the environment is important to know.
[00:04:58.625]That's why, a lot of times, we have somebody
[00:05:00.219]doing what we call mesoscale analysis,
[00:05:02.951]looking at what's happening in the environment.
[00:05:07.946]And finally, we need ground truth,
[00:05:10.888]and that's where you come in, as a storm spotter.
[00:05:13.468]What's happening at ground level,
[00:05:17.363]or from the cloud base down to the ground?
[00:05:23.101]Remember, radar samples the thunderstorm itself,
[00:05:29.479]not necessarily what's happening below the storm.
[00:05:32.834]We can infer, sometimes, what may be happening
[00:05:36.582]below the storm, but we need the storm spotter out there
[00:05:41.865]to be able to see things.
[00:05:46.230]Like, here, you're looking at stuff that's in the yellow,
[00:05:50.435]that's what the radar sees,
[00:05:52.237]and red is what the spotter sees
[00:05:54.163]from the cloud base down to the ground.
[00:05:59.014]Never assume that we already know what's going on.
[00:06:04.516]Don't think, "I don't wanna call
[00:06:06.439]"the National Weather Service because they're too busy,
[00:06:11.932]"or that they already know about it.
[00:06:16.392]"They already know about this tornado in Southern Lincoln.
[00:06:20.816]"I don't need to call them."
[00:06:23.574]You may be the first report that comes into the office.
[00:06:29.010]Never assume that we already know.
[00:06:37.115]for a forecaster, nothing irritates a forecaster more
[00:06:42.964]as when you issue a warning,
[00:06:46.367]and you hear crickets, okay?
[00:06:51.275]And they're wondering, "What's happening with the storm?
[00:06:54.632]"I haven't heard any reports, what's going on?"
[00:07:00.481]Because the forecaster's deciding
[00:07:03.218]whether they wanna continue that warning,
[00:07:08.362]or warn downstream from where the present warning is,
[00:07:14.090]or whether they need to cancel it.
[00:07:17.345]So, we need that feedback
[00:07:20.836]from you, as a storm spotter.
[00:07:24.310]Now, this county, very well-organized, very well-organized.
[00:07:29.536]Gives us reports,
[00:07:31.828]and wonderful reports,
[00:07:34.097]thanks, especially, to Reynolds,
[00:07:35.620]who's helped set up everything.
[00:07:39.694]So, we appreciate that feedback that we get from you.
[00:07:44.743]The other thing with the radar
[00:07:45.813]is that you do have a limitation
[00:07:47.597]due to the fact that that radar,
[00:07:51.048]you have the curvature of the Earth, and so,
[00:07:54.093]the beam height of the lowest beam,
[00:07:56.506]radar beam, that goes out
[00:07:59.477]increases with height as further out you go.
[00:08:03.961]So, 20 miles out from a radar,
[00:08:09.580]the height of the lowest beam is 1,600 feet above ground.
[00:08:15.259]If you go 60 miles out, which is about at York,
[00:08:21.011]that height of that beam is now 5,300 feet.
[00:08:25.620]And if you go to 100 miles out,
[00:08:28.806]which is at Yankton, South Dakota,
[00:08:30.688]the height of that lowest beam
[00:08:32.088]is now 12,600 feet above ground.
[00:08:36.607]That's at the limits of where we can see
[00:08:39.235]good rotation in the storm, and so forth.
[00:08:42.430]So, we need these reports
[00:08:47.159]so we can see what's in that black area
[00:08:49.781]below the radar beam.
[00:08:52.964]That's where you come in.
[00:08:55.875]What's considered severe weather?
[00:09:00.293]Hail, one inch in diameter, or greater.
[00:09:03.516]That's about the size of a quarter.
[00:09:05.903]Winds greater than 58 miles an hour.
[00:09:08.072]You might say, "Well, that's an odd number.
[00:09:11.252]"Who came up with that?"
[00:09:14.991]That actually goes back a long ways,
[00:09:18.090]long ways, back into the 1950s, actually.
[00:09:22.630]But, equates to 50 knots of wind speed,
[00:09:27.582]and it's about the wind speed that will cause
[00:09:31.194]some structural damage.
[00:09:35.595]Tornadoes, obviously, we issue warnings for,
[00:09:38.971]and then we issue warnings for flooding and flash flooding.
[00:09:43.450]Flash flooding is particularly dangerous because you get
[00:09:47.808]heavy amount of rain, maybe two, three, four inches of rain
[00:09:56.041]This causes creeks to rise up, overflow,
[00:10:00.199]water to go over low-lying areas,
[00:10:02.961]and over areas that are low in the roads,
[00:10:06.489]vehicles get stalled, bridges get washed out,
[00:10:11.293]rural county roads get washed out,
[00:10:16.591]and roads get closed.
[00:10:19.954]That's flash flooding and can be dangerous,
[00:10:22.822]if you try to drive through it.
[00:10:26.231]Now, one thing we don't issue warnings for is for lightning.
[00:10:31.734]Every thunderstorm has lightning, okay?
[00:10:37.273]It's not considered a severe criteria.
[00:10:39.696]It is dangerous,
[00:10:42.646]especially for you, as a storm spotter,
[00:10:44.466]when you're out there, but it's not
[00:10:47.382]one that we're issuing a warning for.
[00:10:49.323]If we issued warnings for lightning,
[00:10:51.043]we would have a lot more warnings, and John's smiling.
[00:10:56.185]We would have warnings all the time.
[00:10:57.752]Of course, people accuse us of that already,
[00:11:01.371]which, admittedly, we do issue a lot of warnings
[00:11:03.735]for marginal severe weather events.
[00:11:08.685]When's the severe weather season?
[00:11:10.291]Well, it's April 1st.
[00:11:11.977]We went through the whole month of March.
[00:11:14.596]Normally, in our 38-county warning area,
[00:11:17.826]which 38 counties are in Nebraska, eight of 'em in Iowa,
[00:11:22.285]we have at least one tornado.
[00:11:25.606]This year, we've had none in our county warning area.
[00:11:32.343]We get into April, storm systems become more active
[00:11:37.907]The warm air starts entering our area more prevalently,
[00:11:44.840]and people are saying, "Yay," (clapping)
[00:11:48.633]'cause they're tired of it being like Seattle here, okay?
[00:11:53.976]Although, I do like Seattle too.
[00:11:57.669]But warm air starts coming up.
[00:12:03.339]Storm systems, now, the jet stream
[00:12:06.297]starts coming across our area.
[00:12:08.117]Storm systems come across our area.
[00:12:10.301]Warm fronts, cold fronts, dry lines
[00:12:12.902]start coming through Nebraska.
[00:12:16.838]And so, we become more active,
[00:12:19.077]and there's more chances for tornadoes,
[00:12:21.218]so we get about three tornadoes in the month of April.
[00:12:26.682]May and June are our peak months for activity, that's the
[00:12:31.925]height of the severe weather season.
[00:12:35.241]I always joke that it peaks around
[00:12:37.108]the College World Series time,
[00:12:40.776]which it seems to. (chuckles)
[00:12:43.499]But it's that time period, May and June,
[00:12:48.513]when we have our worst weather.
[00:12:51.688]We get into July and August,
[00:12:53.665]things start diminishing because
[00:12:57.856]the storm systems and the jet streams
[00:13:01.330]have now moved further North,
[00:13:03.281]into the Dakotas and into Canada.
[00:13:06.252]And so, now, it's just hot,
[00:13:12.172]pool weather, okay?
[00:13:15.356]We can still get, in the fall, severe weather, tornadoes,
[00:13:20.891]even into October.
[00:13:26.121]A big tornado occurred, in 2013, in Wayne, in October.
[00:13:31.496]That was an EF4.
[00:13:34.337]So, bad tornadoes can happen in the fall,
[00:13:38.670]but you don't have as many
[00:13:41.848]storms that come through that time period.
[00:13:43.797]Actually, the cold air wins out during that time period.
[00:13:50.467]Actually, any time of the year,
[00:13:52.196]if the conditions are favorable,
[00:13:53.731]you can get tornadoes or severe weather.
[00:13:56.856]This past year, on Christmas Day, we were issuing warnings.
[00:14:04.372]Not too many Christmas Days
[00:14:06.623]we issue severe weather warnings.
[00:14:10.567]Time of day, late in the afternoon, early in the evening,
[00:14:16.537]and why is that?
[00:14:22.257]'Cause of the heat, maximum heat of the day,
[00:14:25.859]and this is true in the Central Plains,
[00:14:27.934]Central and Southern Plains,
[00:14:33.661]that the maximum heating is occurring
[00:14:35.968]late in the afternoon, early evening.
[00:14:40.352]One of the key ingredients for storms and severe storms
[00:14:44.967]is moisture and heat,
[00:14:46.670]which creates what we call instability.
[00:14:50.435]And to create instability, you have to have a cold aloft,
[00:14:53.199]maybe 20,000 feet or so.
[00:14:55.481]This causes a parcel of air to rise up on its own,
[00:14:59.573]and form a storm,
[00:15:02.441]or it rises up on its own on a boundary of some sort.
[00:15:06.508]So, generally, between two o'clock and 10 o'clock at night
[00:15:09.383]is when we get our peak time for tornadoes.
[00:15:13.737]It's rare for tornadoes to occur
[00:15:16.111]at five or six in the morning, but, there's always a but,
[00:15:21.712]if conditions are favorable, you can have a tornado occur
[00:15:27.226]two or three in the morning.
[00:15:28.115]Case in point, June of 2008,
[00:15:33.373]we had two tornadoes that occurred at 2:15 in the morning
[00:15:36.488]that hit the Millard area of Omaha.
[00:15:40.299]So, it can happen.
[00:15:46.863]There's different stages of a storm.
[00:15:49.220]Now, this is pretty basic stuff, okay, I'm talking about.
[00:15:55.468]If you didn't understand some of the things
[00:15:59.013]that Tim talked about,
[00:16:01.353]maybe you'll understand it better when I go
[00:16:03.337]through some of the details here.
[00:16:06.373]All right, there's three stages.
[00:16:08.208]On the left, in this picture, we have here
[00:16:13.291]this thunderstorm start developing.
[00:16:15.840]Warm, moist air coming in, which we call inflow of air,
[00:16:20.101]is coming in, hits a boundary.
[00:16:22.731]The cold front, warm front, dry line,
[00:16:26.160]it's unstable, and so, it rises up into vertical
[00:16:28.776]and creates this tall cloud,
[00:16:30.340]which we call a towering cumulus cloud.
[00:16:34.876]And that keeps growing, it's all updraft in that storm.
[00:16:40.130]And usually, you can tell an updraft area in a storm
[00:16:43.632]is that the bottom of the cloud, or the cloud base,
[00:16:46.343]is relatively smooth, flat, and rain-free.
[00:16:50.673]It's generally the area where the updraft is taking place.
[00:16:55.007]So, the updraft continues until we start getting
[00:16:58.428]precipitation occurring aloft.
[00:17:00.746]This precipitation occurs up into the storm,
[00:17:03.540]the rain and the hail, in wintertime, and snow
[00:17:07.834]occur, and it keeps getting bigger.
[00:17:10.092]The precipitation area gets bigger and bigger,
[00:17:12.448]until the updraft can't support it any longer.
[00:17:15.457]And so, the precipitation starts falling
[00:17:18.347]in the form of rain,
[00:17:22.842]and in the wintertime, sometimes snow.
[00:17:25.003]We get thundersnow sometimes.
[00:17:27.085]It's convective snow of a thunderstorm.
[00:17:32.198]So, in this middle picture, where my cursor is now,
[00:17:37.635]we now have precipitation falling, and with it,
[00:17:45.009]it drags with it cold air
[00:17:46.412]from the upper to mid-level parts of the cloud,
[00:17:49.210]down to the ground, and that air that comes crashing down
[00:17:52.330]with the precipitation
[00:17:53.793]is what we call the downdraft in the storm.
[00:17:56.648]And as the downdraft nears the ground, it fans out.
[00:18:01.060](imitates downdraft fanning out)
[00:18:03.445]And what we call the outflow now flows down here.
[00:18:07.853]It's the cold air from the downdraft of the storm,
[00:18:11.231]and the leading edge of that outflow
[00:18:16.970]is what we call the gust front.
[00:18:20.760]And a lot of times, a gust front is associated with
[00:18:23.748]a cloud feature, which we'll talk about later on,
[00:18:26.418]which we call the shelf cloud.
[00:18:30.522]But it's the blast of cold air that hits you
[00:18:33.313]as the storm approaches, followed by the rain and hail.
[00:18:37.787]Also, at this time, in the mature stage,
[00:18:40.467]the updraft goes up to a certain point in the storm
[00:18:45.310]and can't go any further,
[00:18:49.484]and that's because it's reaching a part of the atmosphere
[00:18:51.924]which is called the stratosphere.
[00:18:54.104]Stratosphere's a very stable layer of the atmosphere,
[00:18:56.707]and so, the air fans out on top, and creates an anvil,
[00:19:02.877]like a blacksmith's anvil from a distance.
[00:19:05.292]Looks like a blacksmith's anvil.
[00:19:07.140]And that anvil, a lot of times, when you got severe storms,
[00:19:10.552]is blown way downstream by strong upper level winds
[00:19:15.378]or jet stream winds.
[00:19:20.302]Now, eventually, the storm dies out when
[00:19:24.832]the rain, cool air kills off the updraft,
[00:19:28.169]and the storm dies.
[00:19:30.210]Now, this type of storm is what we call
[00:19:32.193]a single-cell thunderstorm,
[00:19:34.427]one area of updraft and downdraft.
[00:19:37.162]In reality, in Nebraska,
[00:19:39.850]you don't see many single-cell thunderstorms.
[00:19:43.021]Most thunderstorms you see here are multi-cell storms,
[00:19:47.814]which are thunderstorms that form in groups,
[00:19:52.543]or a cluster of storms
[00:19:56.194]that have multiple updraft and downdraft areas,
[00:20:01.385]or they form a line.
[00:20:04.445]They're sometimes referred to as a squall line.
[00:20:09.420]Now, these type of storms can produce severe weather,
[00:20:11.842]they can produce hail, large hail.
[00:20:14.863]Generally, less than golf ball size.
[00:20:20.139]It can produce damaging winds,
[00:20:22.675]or downburst winds, as we call 'em,
[00:20:25.125]and can produce
[00:20:28.927]some isolated tornadoes, but usually,
[00:20:30.837]those tornadoes are not as strong
[00:20:33.636]as the type of storm we're gonna talk about next.
[00:20:38.426]And that storm we're gonna talk about now
[00:20:41.298]is the supercell thunderstorm.
[00:20:46.045]It's the granddaddy of all storms, the king of storms.
[00:20:52.315]Hopefully, Budweiser doesn't sue me for that,
[00:20:56.081]the king of storms.
[00:21:02.140]here's this storm.
[00:21:05.241]We're looking at this storm from a long distance away,
[00:21:08.258]maybe about 25, 30 miles away
[00:21:13.752]to the West, and so, you're looking towards York,
[00:21:18.064]looking towards Seward or York, in this case.
[00:21:23.054]Now, this can be any part of the Western part of the sky.
[00:21:27.784]It depends on which way the storm is moving.
[00:21:30.018]Could be looking to the southwest
[00:21:32.170]or looking to the northwest.
[00:21:34.538]But right now, for our purposes,
[00:21:36.103]we're gonna say it's to the west.
[00:21:40.271]You look at this storm, and the first thing you see
[00:21:43.101]is this big solid updraft core,
[00:21:45.731]and Tim had some great pictures of that.
[00:21:49.194]Big solid updraft,
[00:21:51.218]hard in appearance, well-outlined,
[00:22:00.607]and that is where the main updraft
[00:22:02.405]is taking place in this storm.
[00:22:03.579]And this updraft is a rotating updraft,
[00:22:07.319]which is part of the, what's called the mesocyclone,
[00:22:14.856]and that updraft extends way up into the storm,
[00:22:18.144]and that's what we see on radar, okay?
[00:22:22.313]We don't see the tornado circulation gently.
[00:22:26.143]Most of the time, we see the mesocyclone.
[00:22:34.047]If there is a tornado and it's fairly close to the radar,
[00:22:37.020]sometimes, we can get a signature that indicates
[00:22:40.133]that there may be a tornado in it,
[00:22:42.155]which is called the tornado vortex signature.
[00:22:46.081]But most of the time, we see just the mesocyclone
[00:22:48.782]part of the storm.
[00:22:51.653]So, that's the main updraft, and the updraft is key
[00:22:54.123]because tornadoes occur in the updraft part of the storm.
[00:23:01.217]Now, off to the left,
[00:23:03.861]you notice that the cloud base is smooth,
[00:23:06.547]flat, relatively rain-free.
[00:23:10.594]So, what's going on there?
[00:23:16.164]What kind of air is happening there?
[00:23:22.858]All updrafts, that's right.
[00:23:25.229]So, we're gonna look at some motion here in the storm.
[00:23:29.149]All right, so we got air comin' in,
[00:23:32.785]and we got updrafts coming in, going up,
[00:23:36.833]and then we have the main updraft here.
[00:23:43.230]And so, there's the updraft in the storm,
[00:23:47.463]there's the anvil, the air's going around there,
[00:23:50.401]but notice that you have another thing, too,
[00:23:52.382]called the overshooting top.
[00:23:55.177]The updraft is so intense in this storm
[00:24:00.274]that it's punched its way up into the stratosphere,
[00:24:03.399]and created this bubble of cloud.
[00:24:08.162]It's like somebody took a scoop of mashed potatoes
[00:24:10.886]and just plopped it up on top of that, okay?
[00:24:16.886]So, that's the overshooting top.
[00:24:20.166]Now, remember, Tim talked about a backshoot anvil,
[00:24:23.738]'cause the wind will take that anvil
[00:24:27.330]and blow it way off to the right, in this case.
[00:24:31.060]Notice the anvil is going back into
[00:24:33.416]the area of strong upper winds.
[00:24:34.823]That's what we call a back-sheared anvil.
[00:24:38.072]If you see that supercell storm, that's an intense updraft.
[00:24:42.391]When you see an overshooting top, it's an intense updraft.
[00:24:47.025]But you can only see the overshooting top,
[00:24:49.982]maybe, 25, 30 miles away, or greater,
[00:24:53.400]because if you get closer, that anvil is gonna be over you,
[00:24:57.485]and you won't see the top cloud features.
[00:25:02.123]All right, so we continue, get precipitation growing aloft
[00:25:05.564]and then, the precipitation falls on the right,
[00:25:10.936]in the form of rain or hail.
[00:25:14.093]Notice we have our little hail ball going around and around.
[00:25:18.120]Actually, in a supercell storm,
[00:25:19.498]the hail is actually rotating around too,
[00:25:21.901]in the mesocyclone updraft.
[00:25:25.022]So, we got the precipitation to the right falling,
[00:25:27.971]and the precipitation's falling away from the updraft.
[00:25:31.707]So, these storms last a long time
[00:25:33.714]because the updraft is tilted.
[00:25:36.392]It's tilted at an angle, so the precipitation
[00:25:38.972]forms off to the right, away from the updraft,
[00:25:41.498]so this storm will last for a long, long time.
[00:25:47.103]I call it the Energizer Bunny effect, okay?
[00:25:51.222]It keeps on going and going and going, okay?
[00:25:58.468]So, in between the precipitation to the right
[00:26:01.663]and the rain-free cloud base on the left,
[00:26:03.553]you may have an isolated lowering of the cloud base,
[00:26:07.327]which we call the wall cloud.
[00:26:10.391]The wall cloud's a red flag
[00:26:14.673]where the most intense updraft is taking place,
[00:26:17.977]underneath the wall cloud.
[00:26:21.716]And because that's where the most intense
[00:26:23.052]updraft is taking place, that's
[00:26:27.057]why we see many tornadoes form underneath a wall cloud.
[00:26:33.312]All right, so let's look at a supercell on radar.
[00:26:35.696]So, on the upper left-hand corner here,
[00:26:37.543]in this picture here, this is the lowest elevation scan
[00:26:42.879]from a radar,
[00:26:44.877]and this is the radar reflectivity display.
[00:26:51.717]This is looking at intensity of precipitation.
[00:26:56.796]This is what you normally see when you watch the TV,
[00:26:59.518]and you see the little radar inserted in the corner,
[00:27:03.036]and they're looking at the lowest elevation scan,
[00:27:05.258]and they're looking at the radar reflectivity, okay,
[00:27:07.930]and your warnings, for example.
[00:27:12.137]Now, in this case, they have the storm moving
[00:27:13.767]from southwest to northeast.
[00:27:17.521]Now, in reality, supercell storms can move
[00:27:19.819]from south to north, southwest to northeast,
[00:27:22.629]west to east, northwest to southeast.
[00:27:26.173]What determines the motion of that storm
[00:27:31.182]is are the winds aloft?
[00:27:35.077]Strong winds aloft will move the storm along,
[00:27:38.825]and then the tornado, being the parent,
[00:27:42.520]I mean the tornado being the offspring,
[00:27:45.652]is following along with daddy, okay,
[00:27:50.390]which is the supercell, okay?
[00:27:55.273]Generally, in the spring,
[00:27:56.489]when the upper level winds are strong,
[00:27:59.169]the tornado is gonna move, generally, in a straight line.
[00:28:03.170]But later on, in the summer,
[00:28:04.959]sometimes, supercell storms may tend
[00:28:08.464]to sit in one spot, or be weak,
[00:28:10.611]and then the tornadoes do weird things,
[00:28:13.182]just like on Grand Island in June of 1980.
[00:28:18.248]All right, so, the big blob of red,
[00:28:23.828]the darker the red, the heavier the precipitation,
[00:28:26.527]in this case.
[00:28:28.335]That's where your main downdraft
[00:28:29.995]is taking in this big blob right here.
[00:28:37.874]That's the main downdraft,
[00:28:39.361]we'll call it the front flank downdraft,
[00:28:41.390]and as the front flank downdraft
[00:28:45.033]nears the ground, it fans out.
[00:28:46.987]The air fans out, and you get a gust front.
[00:28:50.400]And the gust front, for our purposes today,
[00:28:53.359]is gonna be where the yellow meets the green here.
[00:28:58.150]Okay, so that's where the gust front is.
[00:29:01.957]Now, where the main updraft is taking place is down
[00:29:05.681]further southwest in this case.
[00:29:08.353]So, down here, where the white circle is
[00:29:10.213]is where your mesocyclone updraft is taking place.
[00:29:14.015]There's also your other updraft with the flanking line
[00:29:16.548]that's off the picture here, off to the southwest.
[00:29:21.513]So, this updraft is taking place,
[00:29:24.208]and then you get another downdraft
[00:29:27.017]that curls around the back side and creates this hook,
[00:29:32.489]which is called the rear flank downdraft, or RFD,
[00:29:36.661]and you get this hook,
[00:29:40.009]or hook echo on radar.
[00:29:42.989]Where the tornado occurs
[00:29:44.410]is at the tip of the hook, generally,
[00:29:48.439]thinking it like a fishing hook,
[00:29:51.850]where the barb on the fishing hook is.
[00:29:54.088]That's generally where the tornado is occurring.
[00:29:58.209]For you, as a storm spotter, now, many of you are spotters
[00:30:02.739]in Lancaster County, have fixed positions you go to.
[00:30:09.471]So, you may be stuck underneath the rain,
[00:30:12.924]you may be stuck by the gust front, you may be down here,
[00:30:17.657]and hopefully, you're not right there, okay? (laughs)
[00:30:26.604]But if you're a mobile spotter,
[00:30:28.260]at least you have some way to reposition yourself,
[00:30:30.932]or a storm chaser.
[00:30:33.363]But the best viewing angle is from this position right here,
[00:30:38.605]south and east of the precipitation area here.
[00:30:44.027]The rule of thumb, as a storm spotter,
[00:30:46.657]you want warm air blowing in from your back,
[00:30:50.042]precipitation to your right,
[00:30:52.281]rain-free cloud base to your left.
[00:30:57.467]That's the rule of thumb.
[00:30:59.920]You generally don't wanna get any closer, let's say,
[00:31:02.243]than two miles away, or so,
[00:31:05.468]from the hook.
[00:31:09.843]Otherwise, you'll be in some very strong winds
[00:31:12.868]from the rear flank downdraft back here in the hook.
[00:31:16.802]Now, notice Tim was right on the edge of those,
[00:31:20.142]in his I-70 chase.
[00:31:24.152]But you don't wanna get, usually, too close to that area.
[00:31:28.863]You don't wanna end up in this red area here.
[00:31:33.803]That's part of the bear's cage, it's a hail core.
[00:31:37.288]You're gonna get pummeled with baseball, softball-size hail.
[00:31:42.645]You don't wanna be in that region,
[00:31:46.738]unless you like to.
[00:31:49.153]There's some storm chasers that like to
[00:31:55.517]It's like a badge of honor to get their car dented, but
[00:32:01.090]I don't recommend that.
[00:32:06.058]All right, if this supercell storm moves
[00:32:08.696]in a different direction,
[00:32:10.788]the structure'll be a little bit different.
[00:32:12.244]Here's in a northwest flow-type case.
[00:32:15.458]So, the supercell is skewed a little bit differently.
[00:32:18.958]The hook is back towards the northwest in this case.
[00:32:22.857]So, here's your rotating updraft,
[00:32:26.139]and so, you wanna be kind of southwest
[00:32:28.129]of the storm in that case.
[00:32:30.172]Now, another reason, in the left picture,
[00:32:32.657]where that person is standing
[00:32:34.075]and looking at the cloud features,
[00:32:36.831]from that vantage point, it's also a good place
[00:32:39.021]to view the cloud features because, generally,
[00:32:41.614]these storms occur in later in the afternoon
[00:32:44.112]or early evening,
[00:32:45.463]and your sunlight is filtering in from the back.
[00:32:48.646]So, your cloud features are gonna be backlit.
[00:32:52.580]You'll see the wall cloud clearly.
[00:32:54.731]You'll see the tornado and rain-free cloud base.
[00:32:58.707]If you're back here, now, you're in sunlight.
[00:33:01.865]Some of those cloud features may blend in together,
[00:33:05.658]and it's hard to see 'em as well.
[00:33:10.875]Same thing is true, as in the upper left picture,
[00:33:13.219]if you were behind the storm looking at it.
[00:33:17.155]Things are gonna tend to blend together.
[00:33:21.196]All right, safety is number one,
[00:33:23.622]absolutely number one out there, okay?
[00:33:28.695]Obey traffic laws, okay?
[00:33:30.503]That's one of the first things, okay?
[00:33:35.338]Otherwise, you may not be a storm spotter very long.
[00:33:41.355]You wanna have, what we call ACES, A-C-E-S, okay?
[00:33:46.864]Since I'm from the federal government,
[00:33:48.853]and we make up acronyms all the time,
[00:33:52.494]I've decided to come up with ACES.
[00:33:56.170]ACES stands for awareness,
[00:33:58.359]good situational awareness is key out there
[00:34:00.971]as a storm spotter.
[00:34:02.404]You want to know where the storms are, in relation to you,
[00:34:06.389]what warnings are out there,
[00:34:08.886]and where the storms are moving,
[00:34:10.509]and what kinda hazards are taking place in that storm.
[00:34:14.712]As soon as you lose situational awareness,
[00:34:19.761]you can be in deep doo-doo.
[00:34:25.961]All right, you wanna communicate your whereabouts
[00:34:28.128]on a regular basis, and this will be re-emphasized
[00:34:31.664]to you ham operators later on.
[00:34:36.400]You wanna communicate on a regular basis where you're at.
[00:34:41.478]You wanna have escape routes, that's the E.
[00:34:45.566]Now, a lot of these spots that you have for,
[00:34:48.532]in fact, all of these spots, are good locations
[00:34:51.375]in Lancaster County, that you pick.
[00:34:55.441]But if you're a mobile spotter,
[00:35:00.270]you wanna make sure you have at least two ways to get out.
[00:35:05.464]You don't wanna go to have a storm spotter position
[00:35:08.551]on a dead end road,
[00:35:12.488]or you don't want one that's on a minimum maintenance road,
[00:35:17.969]because these storms have a lot of rain,
[00:35:19.465]and you could get stuck very easily.
[00:35:25.642]Finally, you wanna have, some way,
[00:35:28.196]safe area or shelter to go to.
[00:35:31.580]If you have a building nearby,
[00:35:33.516]or home nearby you can go into,
[00:35:35.847]you can go in there, if a tornado's bearing down on you,
[00:35:40.180]and you can't get out of the way.
[00:35:43.669]And some of your spotter locations have places there
[00:35:47.273]that have agreements with the neighbors
[00:35:51.005]that you can go in there, if that's still correct.
[00:35:56.620]So, you wanna have a place to go for safety.
[00:35:59.500]If you're out in the middle of nowhere,
[00:36:02.888]and I just messed myself up.
[00:36:05.920](audience member mumbling)
[00:36:07.246]Yeah, that's the one.
[00:36:08.413]This is what happens when you have no place to go.
[00:36:13.884]And I think it's 'cause I hit the screen here.
[00:36:26.407]Yeah, as Fujita would say, "It no take PhD."
[00:36:35.425]If you're in the middle of nowhere,
[00:36:38.578]and the tornado's bearing down on you,
[00:36:40.333]you have one or two options.
[00:36:42.648]Both are not good, okay?
[00:36:47.167]And you can't get away on a vehicle.
[00:36:51.137]You can either stay in your vehicle and lie down in it,
[00:36:55.336]not a very good idea, but you can do that,
[00:36:59.801]or you can get out of the vehicle
[00:37:01.971]and lie flat in a ditch or ravine.
[00:37:05.127]Make sure it's not one that's gonna fill
[00:37:06.750]quickly up with water, though,
[00:37:10.026]'cause you'll be in trouble.
[00:37:10.968]But there's no guarantee,
[00:37:14.926]if you're in that situation,
[00:37:17.399]in either case, that you're gonna survive.
[00:37:23.506]So, safety is number one, safety is number one.
[00:37:27.762]What we want you to report,
[00:37:29.417]at least to the National Weather Service,
[00:37:30.941]we want you to report the four Ws:
[00:37:34.296]who you are,
[00:37:37.421]what you are, no, what you saw, (chuckles)
[00:37:42.992]what you saw,
[00:37:48.867]and where you saw it and when you saw it.
[00:37:50.877]So, here's a good example.
[00:37:53.173]Somebody's Jane Doe, they see golf ball-size hail,
[00:37:56.859]two large trees uprooted five miles west of Oakland,
[00:37:59.631]and it began about five minutes ago and still ongoing.
[00:38:03.279]Short, concise, detailed messages,
[00:38:09.028]to the point.
[00:38:10.641]You don't call us and start saying,
[00:38:12.183]"Well, what's the weather gonna be like in
[00:38:15.320]"the next several weeks?
[00:38:16.535]"I hear it's gonna be cold out, you know."
[00:38:19.863]It's not time for conversation, okay? (chuckles)
[00:38:23.170]It's time to give us the report to the point.
[00:38:26.293]Here are two good examples of reports.
[00:38:28.461]First one: "Officer Jill Smith,
[00:38:30.897]"baseball-size hail fell in Gretna.
[00:38:33.535]"Hail lasted about five minutes and broke windows,
[00:38:35.711]"stripped trees, and damaged cars."
[00:38:38.489]To the point.
[00:38:41.038]The other one: John Smith, no relation to Jill,
[00:38:43.934]at least, that I know of.
[00:38:46.189]"I'm a trained spotter.
[00:38:48.067]"A tornado moved through my place,
[00:38:49.500]"which is five miles west of Treynor and Highway 92,"
[00:38:52.199]this is in Iowa.
[00:38:53.872]Sorry, it's not Nebraska.
[00:38:55.547]"The tornado hit about 7:45 and lasted a few seconds.
[00:39:00.019]"Watched it move northeast and damages limited
[00:39:02.121]"to a couple of out buildings,
[00:39:03.607]"and a wind break, and no one was injured."
[00:39:06.469]Again, short, detailed, concise information
[00:39:10.394]we want to know.
[00:39:14.558]You want to report the largest hail stone
[00:39:16.892]that you see, okay?
[00:39:20.000]And compare it to a common object.
[00:39:24.040]And these are the common objects.
[00:39:30.393]You know, don't say it's pomegranate-size hail.
[00:39:40.264]I don't go shopping for pomegranates all the time,
[00:39:43.116]so I'm not sure how big they are.
[00:39:46.467]So, dime, penny, if it's about three-quarters of an inch.
[00:39:50.397]Nickel is .88,
[00:39:53.493]quarter is an inch, the half dollar is inch and a quarter.
[00:39:56.720]You run out of change,
[00:39:59.605]so you have to go to balls.
[00:40:02.416]So, you have to go to ping pong balls, golf balls,
[00:40:05.255]then we have a hen egg thrown in there for good measure,
[00:40:08.960]tennis ball, baseball,
[00:40:11.381]and some fruit, grapefruit,
[00:40:15.839]and softball, 4-1/2 inches in diameter softball.
[00:40:21.252]The largest hail stone that fell in the United States
[00:40:24.248]was in Vivian, South Dakota.
[00:40:26.458]Had hail stones 7-1/2 inches in diameter,
[00:40:29.212](audience gasping and mumbling)
[00:40:31.562]and weighed about a pound and a half.
[00:40:33.554](audience gasping and mumbling)
[00:40:37.392]Avoid marble-size hail
[00:40:41.138]because what size are your marbles?
[00:40:45.694]Look at this.
[00:40:48.979]You have marbles that are the shooters,
[00:40:51.289]that are about the size of a quarter, okay?
[00:40:55.735]So, we don't like marbles so much.
[00:41:00.712]Any time the hail gets golf ball-size or bigger
[00:41:04.399]can go through your windshield.
[00:41:07.334]And the fall speed of a baseball, the softball-size hail
[00:41:10.891]is about 90 miles an hour.
[00:41:15.097]That's like getting hit with
[00:41:18.087]a Major League fastball,
[00:41:21.863]or an (mumbles) changeup,
[00:41:26.109]for those who know what I'm talking about. (chuckles)
[00:41:30.216]But you have to be careful.
[00:41:33.531]Sometimes, hail is unavoidable,
[00:41:35.670]especially if you're in a fixed location.
[00:41:40.107]To show you the impact of hail,
[00:41:42.187]this is a compilation of video from
[00:41:46.036]a hail storm in Wylie, Texas.
[00:41:48.264]Wylie is a suburb of Dallas, northeast of Dallas.
[00:41:52.009]Last year, this storm was very bad,
[00:41:55.825]even caused the schools to get closed in Wylie
[00:42:00.163]because of the damage.
[00:42:06.848](hail clattering loudly)
[00:42:31.966]Oh my God!
[00:42:34.355]Oh no, window's gone!
[00:42:36.152](hail clattering loudly)
[00:42:52.596]Okay, really big hail.
[00:42:59.260]Damage doesn't always occur from tornadoes,
[00:43:03.779]at least, wind damage.
[00:43:05.975]We get a lot more wind damage occurring from,
[00:43:09.781]we'll call 'em downburst winds,
[00:43:12.779]sometimes referred to as straight-line winds.
[00:43:18.226]Most downburst winds, when this occurs
[00:43:20.749]in the downdraft part of the storm,
[00:43:24.012]where you have an intense downdraft,
[00:43:27.336]nears the ground and then fans out with damaging winds.
[00:43:33.210]Most downburst winds are 60 to 80 miles per hour,
[00:43:37.937]which can, you're gonna get above 70,
[00:43:40.938]can cause trees to go down,
[00:43:44.811]and can cause power poles to come down,
[00:43:49.360]and power lines to come down,
[00:43:51.958]sign boards get damaged, so forth.
[00:43:56.157]Most thunderstorms that become severe
[00:43:58.639]are in that wind range.
[00:44:00.764]We can get high-end events
[00:44:03.670]that have winds of 90, 100-mile-an-hour, or greater.
[00:44:09.513]These are high-end events that can produce
[00:44:12.121]damage like an EF1 or EF2 tornado,
[00:44:17.424]and maybe, sometimes, approaching EF3.
[00:44:21.350]This can cause pole barns to go down,
[00:44:25.279]roofs come off of houses, off of garages,
[00:44:30.889]sign boards come down,
[00:44:34.425]lot of widespread damage.
[00:44:38.935]A notorious type of storm, which is in this
[00:44:43.970]insert here, is a radar sequence,
[00:44:46.450]and if we go left to right, in this right side here,
[00:44:50.647]is what we call a bow echo.
[00:44:54.359]So, it starts out as an area of storms
[00:44:58.014]that turns into a line, and then it bows out.
[00:45:01.494]Right where it bows out is where you get your intense winds.
[00:45:07.433]Bow echo storms move very fast, fast forward velocity,
[00:45:13.051]maybe sometimes 40 or 50 miles an hour,
[00:45:15.917]or even greater, on the ground,
[00:45:18.862]and produce a lot of widespread damage
[00:45:20.984]right near the apex of that bow right here.
[00:45:25.044]And then, that expands out even further.
[00:45:29.060]So, if you see a bow echo coming straight for Lincoln,
[00:45:32.327]watch out, 'cause it can produce damaging winds,
[00:45:37.355]widespread damaging winds.
[00:45:41.007]For you, as a storm spotter,
[00:45:42.933]we wanna hear, at the Weather Service,
[00:45:44.762]any measured speeds over 50 miles an hour.
[00:45:48.061]Now, some of you have little wind measuring devices,
[00:45:50.450]like Kestrels, or whatever, out there.
[00:45:53.116]You can use that, or a lot of people now have their own
[00:45:58.069]home wind measuring devices, or anemometers.
[00:46:02.186]You can give us your report from that.
[00:46:04.923]We also wanna know the size of broken branches
[00:46:07.080]and downed trees, any structural damage,
[00:46:10.100]and the impacts due to trees blocking roads,
[00:46:14.118]power outages, that sort of thing.
[00:46:17.760]Injuries are even worse.
[00:46:21.394]Deaths, I usually wait until
[00:46:26.214]information comes officially
[00:46:28.125]from the emergency management people,
[00:46:30.655]or the law enforcement.
[00:46:35.875]And don't assume it's a tornado always.
[00:46:40.496]Don't jump to conclusions.
[00:46:44.757]Just because someone says, "That storm had a roar to it,
[00:46:49.328]"and it had to be a tornader!"
[00:46:56.866]Just cause it had a roar, doesn't mean that it's a tornado.
[00:47:02.366]Any time the wind gets strong enough,
[00:47:04.126]it's gonna have a roar to it.
[00:47:09.484]What does Tim Marshall say?
[00:47:11.934]I didn't see the beginning of his program, but,
[00:47:16.582]is he here, or not?
[00:47:19.638]He says this all the time, when he gives presentations.
[00:47:22.678]Wind is wind!
[00:47:26.938]Just 'cause a tornado is a rotary wind,
[00:47:30.219]versus straight-line or downburst winds.
[00:47:35.194]So, there are people that think that there is a tornado.
[00:47:38.624]Course, if you have a photograph of it, oh, there it is,
[00:47:42.312]or a video, then certainly,
[00:47:44.787]we could probably say it's a tornado.
[00:47:50.041]just because somebody says there's a roar,
[00:47:54.320]or sees scud and thinks it's a funnel,
[00:47:57.691]it cannot always have to be a tornado.
[00:48:01.828]Now, cloud feature you see on a lot of thunderstorms,
[00:48:06.823]right at the leading edge of the gust front,
[00:48:10.173]where the cold air is coming out
[00:48:12.109]from the downdraft of the storm,
[00:48:14.379]is what we call the shelf cloud.
[00:48:17.699]It's a horizontal cloud.
[00:48:20.168]It looks like, when it's coming at you,
[00:48:23.219]it's extending from one end of the horizon to another,
[00:48:26.728]and it's coming at you, okay?
[00:48:29.442]Now, in these pictures, each one of these pictures here,
[00:48:33.241]the shelf cloud is moving from right to left.
[00:48:37.031]So, right at the leading edge of that shelf,
[00:48:40.499]right here, right here, right here,
[00:48:44.324]is where you get your gust, initial gust of wind.
[00:48:47.992]That's your gust front right there.
[00:48:51.742]Now, a lot of times, the storm will go by
[00:48:54.030]and your gust may not be severe.
[00:48:57.254]The winds might be only 40 miles an hour,
[00:48:59.967]maybe just barely 50, sometimes.
[00:49:03.499]But sometimes, the initial wind can be damaging.
[00:49:10.610]So, what'll happen in progression here
[00:49:12.375]is you'll get the wind gust, followed by precipitation,
[00:49:17.930]and more wind.
[00:49:21.831]So, what do you think you wanna look for,
[00:49:23.845]as a shelf cloud passes by an area,
[00:49:28.952]to determine whether the wind is real strong or not?
[00:49:39.610]Dust, yeah, dust can indicate strong winds.
[00:49:50.744]Well, you're always gonna see the grass kind of do that,
[00:49:52.977]but if you can see the trees going
[00:49:55.249](moans nervously) like that,
[00:49:58.312]or if you start seeing things breaking off trees,
[00:50:02.887]or things flying in the air,
[00:50:08.386]like cows or witches,
[00:50:12.179]then you know that the wind is strong.
[00:50:16.416]But tornadoes are fairly rare
[00:50:18.720]by the shelf cloud because why?
[00:50:22.512]Why is that?
[00:50:26.230]It's outflow, it's cold air coming down
[00:50:28.565]and out of the storm.
[00:50:29.724]Well, what's a tornado?
[00:50:32.952]Warm air going, it's actually air going up, okay?
[00:50:39.980]So, a shelf cloud indicates the leading edge
[00:50:42.611]of the downdraft of the storm.
[00:50:47.587]Let's look at a couple videos of shelf clouds.
[00:50:53.140]This is out in Western Nebraska.
[00:50:59.546]There's the shelf cloud.
[00:51:02.089]You have the precipitation to the right here,
[00:51:03.816]it's moving right to left,
[00:51:05.056]and then you see some clouds hanging down below it,
[00:51:09.984]And way up high, you may see high level banding
[00:51:13.043]of clouds too, above the shelf.
[00:51:16.461]Underneath the shelf cloud, as it passes by you,
[00:51:19.473]the cloud is gonna look ragged, turbulent.
[00:51:25.987]You may even see some circulation underneath that.
[00:51:31.247]That circulation doesn't mean there's a tornado, okay?
[00:51:35.526]It's just turbulent.
[00:51:37.357]As an analogy, when a big wave hits
[00:51:43.515]in Hawaii, those big waves,
[00:51:45.824]like, the beginning of Hawaii Five-0, all right,
[00:51:49.178]comes in, all that motion in there going in,
[00:51:52.966]this is similar to that.
[00:51:55.301]The air is coming in, there's turbulence going on
[00:51:58.404]underneath that cloud.
[00:52:05.061]that is not a tornado.
[00:52:09.314]What happens when the public,
[00:52:13.024]when somebody who's untrained, let's say,
[00:52:15.643]as a storm spotter,
[00:52:17.612]sees a shelf cloud coming towards them?
[00:52:22.356]What do you think a lot of 'em think?
[00:52:27.613]They panic. (laughs)
[00:52:30.603]It's a wall cloud, 'cause they don't know
[00:52:34.118]what a wall cloud is.
[00:52:36.734]They also think the shelf cloud, they think tornado.
[00:52:41.733]It looks ugly.
[00:52:44.559]It looks nasty.
[00:52:54.198]And really, that's not the area
[00:52:55.879]where the tornado's gonna form.
[00:53:00.277]When a big organized shelf cloud goes across Lincoln,
[00:53:04.415]what do you think happens to them in the 9-1-1 center?
[00:53:09.387]Phones light up.
[00:53:10.277]Phones light up, people start asking, or saying,
[00:53:14.422]"I see a funnel cloud,"
[00:53:18.584]'cause they see scud hanging down off of a shelf cloud,
[00:53:23.513]and then they're calling us,
[00:53:26.585]as dispatch is calling us, saying,
[00:53:29.946]"We got a report of a funnel cloud.
[00:53:32.570]"Can you confirm that?"
[00:53:34.876]And we say, "No, it's not." (laughs)
[00:53:38.503]But that happens because people aren't trained.
[00:53:44.509]Let's look at a shelf cloud that did produce wind damage.
[00:53:48.048]This is in Schuyler, Nebraska last year.
[00:53:52.097]I've sped up the video a little bit, just a little bit,
[00:53:55.076]so that you can see the motion a little better.
[00:53:57.678]This storm produced 60 to 70-mile-an-hour winds
[00:54:00.189]out in Columbus.
[00:54:02.282]Caused wind damage there, trees down, power lines down,
[00:54:06.839]and there were some trees and power lines down in Schuyler.
[00:54:10.213]And then it gusted to 78 miles an hour at Tekamah.
[00:54:15.530]So, let's look at the shelf cloud.
[00:54:26.972]And notice the scud hanging down,
[00:54:28.943]it looks like a finger here.
[00:54:30.772]That is not a funnel.
[00:54:37.884]Yeah, the trucks are moving awfully fast, right? (laughs)
[00:54:40.263](audience laughing and chattering)
[00:54:46.205]So, that's a good example of a shelf cloud.
[00:54:52.545]You'll see the difference here in a minute
[00:54:54.049]between that and a wall cloud.
[00:55:05.352]underneath the updraft region of the storm,
[00:55:07.460]at the interface between the precipitation
[00:55:09.984]and the rain-free cloud base.
[00:55:11.351]On the left, you get this wall cloud hanging down.
[00:55:15.468]It's, maybe, one, two miles wide,
[00:55:19.087]and that's, generally, where the most intense updraft
[00:55:22.466]is going to take place.
[00:55:24.276]The thing is, you wanna look for persistence
[00:55:26.525]in a true wall cloud.
[00:55:29.672]You wanna see that cloud there for a while.
[00:55:34.386]Just 'cause a cloud hangs down for a minute or two
[00:55:36.983]and disappears, doesn't mean it's a wall cloud.
[00:55:40.276]The wall cloud's gonna be there for a long period of time,
[00:55:43.183]10 minutes, maybe longer.
[00:55:49.707]A lot of wall clouds will have rotation to it.
[00:55:53.755]You will see cloud fragments, and Tim's shown that
[00:55:57.120]in some of the video and pictures here.
[00:55:59.337]They had cloud fragments going into the storm,
[00:56:04.641]scud going into the storm.
[00:56:06.885]This picture down and below shows you cloud fragments.
[00:56:10.168]That would be rising into it.
[00:56:14.111]Maybe dirt getting sucked up into that supercell storm
[00:56:17.998]because this supercell updraft is very intense,
[00:56:22.316]60, 70, 80 miles an hour, or maybe even greater sometimes,
[00:56:26.040]going up into the updraft in the supercell storm.
[00:56:33.636]And you should be asking yourself,
[00:56:34.838]"Should I be seeing a wall cloud?"
[00:56:39.286]Well, are you in that warm air
[00:56:41.868]where you see inflow going in, okay?
[00:56:45.158]"Am I in the right spot?"
[00:56:47.574]Well, nowadays, you can have a radar app
[00:56:50.527]on your smartphone or tablet.
[00:56:54.573]You can see your GPS location, you can say, "Oh,
[00:56:58.485]"there's the hook.
[00:57:01.133]"Oh, that probably is a wall cloud I'm looking at."
[00:57:05.235]So, you can get the radar reference too
[00:57:09.629]by looking at that.
[00:57:12.298]So, let's look at wall cloud rotation in two storms.
[00:57:15.089]They're sped up five times.
[00:57:18.448]The second one, I probably didn't need to speed up,
[00:57:20.437]but it was a storm out near Dodge City,
[00:57:22.390]and it really was rotating very well. (laughs)
[00:57:27.755]So, you can see the motion in this,
[00:57:32.325]air rising and rotating in this wall cloud.
[00:57:36.718]This one actually has a funnel cloud in it,
[00:57:40.668]and you can see the rotation, quite evident.
[00:57:52.493]Difference, shelf cloud, air going down and out,
[00:57:55.312]cold air, wall cloud stays with the storm, air goes up,
[00:58:02.921]like a spinning ballerina, okay?
[00:58:08.206]All right, difference between funnel cloud and tornado.
[00:58:12.392]They're both rotating, okay?
[00:58:14.310]They have to be rotating.
[00:58:18.754]To be called a funnel cloud, it has to be rotating.
[00:58:24.005]The terminology you use here is funnel in the air.
[00:58:29.194]Tornado, or funnel on the ground,
[00:58:31.518]is where you have debris, okay?
[00:58:39.166]Debris is visible.
[00:58:40.124]Now, early on in the storm's tornado's life cycle,
[00:58:43.326]you may see the debris start forming first,
[00:58:48.382]and then the cloud funnel forms after that
[00:58:52.588]due to the lowering pressure in that column of air.
[00:58:57.787]And eventually, the debris cloud meets up
[00:58:59.367]with the cloud funnel, but that's not always the case.
[00:59:03.165]Sometimes, it happens simultaneously, you see it, boom!
[00:59:07.904]And then you have a tornado.
[00:59:12.705]So, let's look at a tornado from different vantage points,
[00:59:17.901]and we're gonna look at what it looks like
[00:59:19.678]from different view points.
[00:59:23.409]And so, we're gonna look at some Nebraska tornadoes,
[00:59:26.596]specifically on May 9th last year.
[00:59:34.686]This tornado will look different
[00:59:36.256]depending on where you're at, so let's look at this.
[00:59:45.350]This funnel cloud is phenomenal!
[00:59:46.948]Whoa, can you see it?
[00:59:51.538]It's gonna go down, it's touching!
[00:59:53.623]It's gonna touch.
[00:59:55.169]Whoa, do you see the debris?
[00:59:56.507]All right, we got a funnel.
[00:59:58.336](wind blowing loudly)
[01:00:02.346]We've got a funnel.
[01:00:19.948]The coloration of the tornado,
[01:00:23.534]it's gonna look different depending on the type of sun angle
[01:00:25.851]and whether your precipitation in the way,
[01:00:29.770]so it's gonna vary from where you're at.
[01:00:32.786]So, let's look at more examples of this, the same day.
[01:00:37.856]A little bit later on after Lincoln
[01:00:39.291]came the Nehawka tornado.
[01:00:41.040]Nehawka's a little town in Cass County.
[01:00:45.695]So, we're gonna be looking to the Southwest,
[01:00:48.152]maybe about four miles away, at this tornado.
[01:00:53.267]And you'll see the structure,
[01:00:54.893]kinda like what I was talking about before.
[01:00:57.406]Oh, here's the track of the tornado.
[01:00:59.444]Let me pause this for a second.
[01:01:01.763]The tornado moved from southeast to northwest in this case.
[01:01:09.034]Nehawka was over here.
[01:01:11.323]Didn't get hit, but a rural area it did hit,
[01:01:16.567]a farm stead, and then hit another house up here
[01:01:20.178]and some other damage up here to trees.
[01:01:22.985]One home, the roof was off.
[01:01:25.650]You probably heard the report about the person
[01:01:27.986]that hung on to a tree outside his home, okay,
[01:01:31.611]as the tornado went by.
[01:01:35.272]All right, so let's continue here.
[01:01:41.785]So, there's your rain-free cloud base.
[01:01:46.130]There's your rain area, your precipitation area
[01:01:48.025]to your right.
[01:01:49.105](wind blowing loudly)
[01:01:54.951]There's the wall cloud,
[01:01:57.343]there's the tornado.
[01:01:58.751](wind blowing loudly)
[01:02:16.678]It's just like what I was telling you about.
[01:02:19.448]Precipitation to your right,
[01:02:21.422]rain-free cloud base to the left,
[01:02:22.992]and then the tornado between.
[01:02:25.870]All right, now, we're gonna look
[01:02:30.226]now a mile and a half away,
[01:02:32.996]and we're gonna be just west of the tornado, looking east.
[01:02:37.987]So, how do you think that tornado is gonna appear?
[01:02:43.142]Lighter or darker?
[01:02:49.856]By a show of hands, how many say darker?
[01:02:53.778]By a show of hands, how many say lighter?
[01:02:57.550]How many don't care?
[01:03:02.712]Okay, it's gonna appear lighter
[01:03:05.564]because you're gonna be in sunlight,
[01:03:10.800]and you're gonna be looking directly at the tornado
[01:03:14.842]in the sunlight.
[01:03:29.698]Oh, my God!
[01:03:36.831]Oh, my God!
[01:03:59.696](wind blowing loudly)
[01:04:01.806](chattering drowned out by wind blowing)
[01:04:09.667]Oh, it just won't die, will it?
[01:04:14.859]And sometimes, it doesn't wanna die, okay?
[01:04:18.901]And that's true of supercells.
[01:04:20.335]Sometimes, they just don't wanna die.
[01:04:24.371]But notice at the end of the tornado life cycle,
[01:04:27.930]the tornado is roped out.
[01:04:33.074]Now, a lot of times, that happens at the end.
[01:04:35.036]The tornado will rope out and die out.
[01:04:37.754]Rear flank downdraft gets strong,
[01:04:39.944]undercuts it, kills off the inflow.
[01:04:44.704]Now, does that mean that they're getting no more tornadoes?
[01:04:51.794]Supercell thunderstorms are notorious for producing
[01:04:55.657]more than one tornado, producing families of tornadoes.
[01:05:03.793]They start out, produce a tornado, ropes out.
[01:05:08.106]Then a new mesocyclone area forms off to one side.
[01:05:11.782]New wall cloud, new tornado, off to one side.
[01:05:16.994]So, don't get tunnel vision.
[01:05:20.298]Don't be standing there and staring at that
[01:05:24.266]roped out tornado, saying, "Wow!
[01:05:28.266]"That's cool," you know?
[01:05:31.049]And you're watching it, and then, meanwhile,
[01:05:34.045]off to your right...
[01:05:39.515]Big tornado, all right?
[01:05:42.134]And sometimes, they'll be on the ground simultaneously,
[01:05:44.508]so you wanna look around,
[01:05:48.772]maybe look up, in case,
[01:05:52.163]in case another tornado's gonna develop.
[01:06:00.192]All right, finally, last video of this one,
[01:06:03.598]we're gonna be looking five miles east of the tornado,
[01:06:10.802]Tornado right over there.
[01:06:13.783]Oh, man, that looks wicked!
[01:06:20.799]Yeah, it's bigger now.
[01:06:22.229]It's bigger than it was before.
[01:06:25.347](speaking drowned out by wind howling)
[01:06:33.127]Let's just go.
[01:06:34.902]Ready to go?
[01:06:36.214]All right, let's get the heck outta here.
[01:06:45.401]All right, funnel cloud and tornado reports, what to report:
[01:06:48.576]the location of the feature.
[01:06:51.711]You wanna report not only your location, okay,
[01:06:55.882]you're at point 5-1.
[01:07:00.458]Been there, okay.
[01:07:03.063]You're at point 5-1, and if you don't understand
[01:07:05.620]what I'm talking about, if you're from the public,
[01:07:08.771]in Lancaster County, they number, in a grid,
[01:07:12.239]of their locations.
[01:07:16.860]And so, 5-1 is, what, Southwest, isn't it?
[01:07:22.726]So, you're at point 5-1,
[01:07:26.826]I'm looking to my west and I see a tornado
[01:07:29.412]two miles to the west of me, moving northeast.
[01:07:32.880]That's what you wanna report, your own location,
[01:07:36.678]but also, not only your own location,
[01:07:38.908]but also where the event is and where it's moving.
[01:07:45.440]And any damage or debris, we wanna know about right away.
[01:07:52.450]And because, like I said before,
[01:07:56.562]forecasters wanna use that information
[01:07:58.950]in their warning decision-making process.
[01:08:02.689]They don't wanna hear crickets.
[01:08:10.061]There's lookalikes out there,
[01:08:11.239]things that look like tornadoes and are not, okay?
[01:08:15.746]No, Ken, I'm not gonna show you again, so.
[01:08:24.453]First one is virga, evaporating rain.
[01:08:30.591]It takes on streaks that can look like funnel shape.
[01:08:33.825]This is actually from several weeks ago,
[01:08:36.694]a photograph taken near 132nd and Dodge in Omaha.
[01:08:45.744]And so, you look at this one thing,
[01:08:47.833]right here, where my cursor is, you're gonna look down
[01:08:49.530]and go, "Gee, that's that."
[01:08:53.360]What would make you think that that is not a tornado?
[01:08:56.954]How could you tell?
[01:08:58.351][Audience Members] No rotation.
[01:09:04.802]If you don't see any rotation,
[01:09:07.078]don't see any debris, it's probably harmless, okay?
[01:09:13.915]There was an old phrase that
[01:09:16.318]an old-timer in our office used to say.
[01:09:19.695]He said, "If it don't spin, don't call it in."
[01:09:30.986]A lot of you are seasoned spotters here.
[01:09:32.641]What kind of clouds are those?
[01:09:39.259]They form underneath the anvil of the thunderstorm.
[01:09:43.398]They're very picturesque,
[01:09:45.665]but tornadoes do not form under mammatus clouds.
[01:09:52.199]And then, we have our friend, the scud.
[01:09:57.854]Scud, ragged clouds, hanging.
[01:10:00.262]You'll see 'em near the wall cloud,
[01:10:01.498]getting sucked into the wall cloud.
[01:10:03.062]You'll see 'em through the leaning edge of the shelf cloud.
[01:10:06.409]Sometimes, they hang down,
[01:10:09.035]way down towards the ground.
[01:10:12.249]If you don't see any rotation, no debris, it's harmless.
[01:10:21.005]What to report: heavy rain,
[01:10:23.749]rainfall rates of two inches or more per hour,
[01:10:26.935]any significant flooding, okay, not just water
[01:10:31.139]ponding on the side of the road.
[01:10:32.639]We wanna know about water that's going over the roadway,
[01:10:36.155]vehicles getting stalled,
[01:10:39.431]roads getting closed,
[01:10:42.087]rural roads getting washed out,
[01:10:45.746]and maybe bridges that are washed out.
[01:10:51.161]That's how bad it can get.
[01:10:52.608]Water is very powerful.
[01:10:55.941]It only takes six inches of moving water to
[01:10:59.920]sweep you off your feet.
[01:11:01.389]Anyone that's gone to the beach
[01:11:04.942]and had waves come hit you,
[01:11:08.490]even if you're where the water's kinda shallow,
[01:11:13.454]you can have a hard time with your balance sometimes.
[01:11:17.793]So, water is powerful.
[01:11:21.009]When you're out there as a spotter,
[01:11:24.539]and you come up to a flooded area,
[01:11:27.970]don't drive through it.
[01:11:31.969]It only takes 18 inches to two feet of water
[01:11:35.858]to make your vehicle float.
[01:11:39.343]And just because I have this big truck of mine
[01:11:43.195]doesn't mean that I'm gonna make it through.
[01:11:48.677]So, you wanna turn around and find an alternate way
[01:11:50.963]to get around.
[01:11:54.971]Here's two examples of people in trucks, big trucks,
[01:12:00.917]that don't make it.
[01:12:12.716]Notice the barricades are up.
[01:12:22.641]I saw him ridin', and then he lost,
[01:12:24.058]I think he, like--
[01:12:25.501]That was his car, just driving.
[01:12:30.477]Oh, check that out.
[01:12:36.660]And now, he's trying to figure out
[01:12:38.346]how is he gonna explain this to his wife,
[01:12:43.116]or how he's gonna explain it to his insurance company,
[01:12:47.590]and it's all on video.
[01:12:55.419]All right, let's look at this one.
[01:12:56.816]I don't know why this person drove through this.
[01:13:06.133]Oh, my God, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no,
[01:13:08.190]no, no, no!
[01:13:09.536]Oh, my God, stop!
[01:13:20.418](speaking drowned out by water rushing)
[01:13:29.555]Everyone is safe.
[01:13:31.649]They just walked across.
[01:13:34.758]Both of these people were lucky, very lucky,
[01:13:39.153]very lucky, because last year,
[01:13:44.556]we had about 183 flood deaths nationwide.
[01:13:48.934]61% of those people
[01:13:53.538]were people doing just like what those people were doing,
[01:13:56.540]driving through flooded areas.
[01:14:02.356]Some people fall in, I know, it happens.
[01:14:06.173]Other, I don't know what other is, so. (laughs)
[01:14:12.181]They've never explained that to me.
[01:14:14.126]All right, lightning safety.
[01:14:17.509]I think that's Photoshopped myself.
[01:14:21.758]But if you're out there as a storm spotter,
[01:14:23.904]you're gonna have a lot of lightning, okay,
[01:14:26.851]especially when you're around a mesocyclone area.
[01:14:30.087]Sometimes, that lightning is sharp,
[01:14:33.482]and a lot of cloud to ground strikes.
[01:14:39.576]And we tell the public to avoid high places,
[01:14:42.109]water, golf courses, and machinery.
[01:14:44.816]I laugh when I hear golf courses
[01:14:46.313]'cause I always think of Caddyshack.
[01:14:56.310](laughs) Anyway, you want to stay in your vehicle
[01:15:00.100]as much as possible.
[01:15:02.029]You can put Rain-X on your windshield
[01:15:03.330]to increase visibility.
[01:15:06.813]To show you the power of lightning,
[01:15:08.211]let's look at this video.
[01:15:09.615]It was taken in the Chicago area last year.
[01:15:21.364](lightning blasting dramatically)
[01:15:31.816]That's a power pole, just disintegrated.
[01:15:49.327]I've seen a ham radio antenna
[01:15:52.467]get hit directly by lightning.
[01:15:54.599]Somebody brought it in the office.
[01:15:56.894]I can't remember if I kept it or not,
[01:15:59.829]but it's (laughs) splintered.
[01:16:05.175]It was pretty bad.
[01:16:08.192]How to send reports?
[01:16:09.329]Well, if you've got the net going,
[01:16:12.442]we'll get the reports from somebody
[01:16:15.019]that's operating in our office that will be listening in
[01:16:20.234]at your net.
[01:16:23.687]But let's say you're out and see something,
[01:16:26.461]you can post or give us a call, 1-800-452-9074.
[01:16:33.382]It's answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week,
[01:16:36.173]365 days a year,
[01:16:38.762]and it's for reports only, and emergency management
[01:16:42.657]to coordinate with us for severe weather.
[01:16:46.042]It's not to find out what the weather is
[01:16:48.247]for the Husker game.
[01:16:59.097](laughs) on our website, www.weather.gov,
[01:17:03.156]you can electronically send a report,
[01:17:05.619]down in the lower left-hand corner,
[01:17:08.382]where nobody can see it. (chuckles)
[01:17:14.625]Submit a report online.
[01:17:16.406]So, you can click on that, it will take you to a page
[01:17:21.297]that you can put your location,
[01:17:24.057]and then it will also have drop-down menus for
[01:17:28.798]hail size, or wind, or whatever.
[01:17:33.379]Make sure you put contact information in there,
[01:17:36.541]who you are, your phone number, or email address, okay?
[01:17:41.898]'Cause if you don't, and you send that report,
[01:17:44.814]it goes to our work station, gets alarmed,
[01:17:48.241]it will come up as anonymous.
[01:17:54.876]Do you think we trust anonymous reports sometimes?
[01:18:00.702]Anyone know why?
[01:18:03.225]We've had people that will spoof reports.
[01:18:09.236]This is not only in our office, but nationwide,
[01:18:11.363]this has happened, and it's usually a teenager, okay.
[01:18:16.343]Nothing against teenagers, but,
[01:18:18.337]sometimes they think it's great.
[01:18:20.112]"Oh, wow, look at this big storm over here.
[01:18:22.619]"We're gonna put baseball-size hail on that storm,
[01:18:26.312]"and report it," and it comes in anonymous.
[01:18:29.547]You find out it only produced pea-size, okay?
[01:18:37.303]And sometimes, it's obvious, and sometimes, it isn't.
[01:18:39.523]In fact, we had somebody, some kid in Bellevue,
[01:18:44.394]that was spoofing reports and storms in Northern Texas.
[01:18:50.403]So, I get a phone call from the Southern Region,
[01:18:55.545]person from Southern Region of the Weather Service
[01:18:57.619]asking me, he says, "Do you know this guy?
[01:19:01.570]"Says he's from Bellevue, Nebraska."
[01:19:05.220]Apparently, he was spoofing reports in Texas.
[01:19:10.363]So, you wanna tell us who you are, okay, bottom line,
[01:19:13.848]so that we can get back to you, and so we can believe you.
[01:19:18.692]We're on social media.
[01:19:21.515]You can send us a report via Facebook or Twitter,
[01:19:25.772]and Twitter, @NWSOmaha.
[01:19:28.258]You can attach a picture too.
[01:19:32.000]We have a person, now, solely dedicated,
[01:19:35.258]for your severe weather, to looking at social media,
[01:19:41.668]because it's become important now.
[01:19:46.423]Also, one other way to report is
[01:19:49.687]there is an app on your phone that you can call.
[01:19:52.889]It's called mPING, M as in Mary, P-I-N-G, okay?
[01:19:58.330]We can monitor those reports too.
[01:20:00.960]You can do hail, wind, rain.
[01:20:04.553]Reports can be sent that way.
[01:20:07.789]Okay, recapping, what to report:
[01:20:10.226]hail compared to a common object,
[01:20:12.733]winds over 50 miles per hour,
[01:20:14.707]wall clouds, is it rotating,
[01:20:17.534]tornadoes and funnel clouds, wind or tornado damage,
[01:20:21.418]Don't forget the four Ws: who, what, where, and when,
[01:20:25.893]not why. (chuckles)
[01:20:29.815]Remember, your reports are important
[01:20:31.921]to your local community,
[01:20:35.464]in your local communities of Lancaster County,
[01:20:40.980]and are important to us at the Weather Service
[01:20:43.117]because you're an integral part
[01:20:45.317]of the warning decision-making process.
[01:20:48.610]And because of you, your reports do save lives.
[01:20:54.552]With that, I thank you very much,
[01:20:56.973]and we'll continue on with it.
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