TDWR of Tornado over My House

Here’s a radar look at the tornadic Norman mesocyclone (12 Jun 2009) at, or within a couple minutes of, the time its tornado was breaking trees on my lot and on all four sides of my house. The actual center of the tornado vortex passed about 75 feet S of the house, putting it in the N (weaker) half of the ESE-moving tornado vortex.

The nearby Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR), based in northwestern Cleveland County, had a great proximity view of the low levels of the supercell, peering SE directly into its business end with about the least possible attenuation. This is neat stuff. First, the low-elevation base reflectivity image at 339Z (1039 p.m. CDT), X marks my house.

The hook echo shows up splendidly, containing a reflectivity donut surrounding a bounded weak-echo region (BWER) at the half-degree beam angle.

Now here’s the storm-relative velocity image, at matching tilt and time:

This isn’t what most folks want to see headed for them, much less directly overhead. Since my house came away without a scratch, despite all the tree damage (up to EF-1), I can look on it in retrospect as a novelty, a matter of good fortune (no trees or substantial branches landed on the house, no debris into windows), a benefit of wind-resistant house construction (bolts, clips and reinforcements galore), and truly, quite an honor for a tornado meteorologist! Thanks to spEg for providing me with the original images as souvenirs, which I’ve cropped and labeled for use here.

For more detailed musings on this event, go to this earlier BLOG post.


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