Wednesday, June 20, 2007

What was that I was seeing?


WAFF Doppler Radar

Tuesday 6/19/07 I worked only during the morning. A significant weather alert was issued for Morgan County, AL at11:10 a.m. and I wondered why. It was barely raining. The conditions were not favorable for severe weather. The area where storms were forming was not far away and frankly, things didn't look that bad. There was not even any lightning.

A little while later I was driving to Huntsville from Decatur, Alabama. I saw what looked like a "textbook" wall cloud over Madison, AL. All my storm spotter training and 35 years of weather observations inside of me screamed, "this CANNOT be a wall cloud!" Conditions were not ideal for tornadoes and no watches or warnings were in effect.

I will say this: I saw an isolated lowering of the cloud base and the clouds seemed to show some rotation, albeit weak. There was heavy rain and gusty wind at the surface, but no lightning.

I was tempted to report this to the NWS Huntsville. Then I thought about one of the rules of spotting: keep an eye on it for a few minutes before jumping to conclusions. It seemed to be absorbed into the rest of the clouds after about five minutes. I then went on my merry way.

The only thing, in retrospect, that should have given me more concern, was that a significant weather alert had been issued for the same storm a little earlier to my west.

Tonight I read this article in the Decatur, AL Daily. It just goes to show that with severe weather, one of the biggest "rules" is to "expect the unexpected". Alabama weather legend J.B. Elliott deserves credit for teaching me that idea!

Unfortunately my camera died on my recent vacation so I have no photos or videos to share.

Southern Weather Brigade teammate Dewdrop also had an unexpected cool experience!

6 comments:

Dewdrop said...

Excellent write-up, Mike. I guess I should post a lilttle something about mine for the team blog, huh?

I can do that...

Mike said...

Yes! Thanks, Dew!

Dewdrop said...

My pleasure!

Andy Kula said...

Mike...
Thanks for the TW email and post. Actually, I would rather you call us with any "suspected" wall cloud. Especially on a day like this one where the prospect of severe weather appeared low...at least on paper. Having proactive spotters, rather than reactive spotters save lives.

I'll try to post some images when I have some time.

- Andy at NWS HUN

Mike said...

I will be more proactive in the future. Hope you get a chance to post those oics!

Mike said...

Thanks, Andy...I meant Pics...