A Tornado Video That Might Save Your Life


This video, taken on the Kansas-Oklahoma border (K15, just north of Grainola, OK) Sunday evening might just help you save your life.

I often talk about the importance of recognizing rotation in a thunderstorm and that if a thunderstorm feature seems to be growing larger but not moving right or left, it is probably moving right at you. This video, in time-lapse, demonstrates both.

The rotation begins about :58 into the video above.
This video shows the typical Plains “supercell” as viewed
looking west. The rotation is in the southwest part of the
storm (note the bright sky behind the rotation) while the
hail and heavy rain are farther to the north. 

When the video gets to about 0:58, note how the edge of the rotation closest to the camera rotates from left to right and the more distant edge of the rotation goes from right to left. That is the “counterclockwise” (as viewed from above) movement that meteorologists talk about. It means a tornado may be spinning up.

While this rotation is sped up in the time lapse, that type of organized, sustained rotation is perceptible. If you see it, take cover regardless of whether a tornado warning is in effect.


Thank you Chad Cowan and company for posting this on YouTube. Chad’s web site is here. Chad also reports,

Thanks for sharing this, Mike. You’ll be happy to know that my copy of WARNINGS came along for the ride.

and, he said, it brought the team good luck!

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