Earlier this week, I wrote about tornado warnings based solely on radar. I am asked, surprisingly often, why we cannot always visually confirm that a tornado exists before issuing a warning. Courtesy of storm chaser and photographer Jim Saueressig (web site here), we have two views of the same storm, moments apart, where the tornado is visible and when it is not.
The first photo, below, is a rain-wrapped tornado that was briefly visible in the near darkness. It was produced by a supercell in the Flint Hills near Severy, Kansas, at 7:23pm.
Even though it is still on the ground, the tornado is invisible in this view just moments later.
Even discounting tornadoes in the middle of the night, it is just too risky to hope that we can get visual confirmation of every tornado before we warn on it.
More on tornadoes later today.