Category Archives: tornado

Did a 'gustnado' topple the stage at the Indiana State Fair?

Did a ‘gustnado’ topple the stage at the Indiana State Fair? | MNN – Mother Nature Network.

Another older post that highlights some interesting and unusual wind events….

The stage, just as it began to collapse Photo: JSilas7/YouTube
Investigators are searching for clues about the Aug. 13 stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis that killed five people.

Some meteorologists think a kind of wind storm called a ‘gustnado’ could be to blame.

Cousins to tornadoes, gustnadoes are brief, low-to-the-ground swirling clouds. They are relatively weak compared to tornadoes, but they can still pack a punch and are capable of knocking over weak structures.
At the very least, the damage was caused by a strong gust front, or outflow boundary. This front is what separates thunderstorm-cooled air from the warmer air surrounding it. Gustnadoes are known to develop along gust fronts.
“The video shows a swirl of dust coming across the stage, and it’s only when the swirl hits the stage that the stage actually collapses,” according to meteorologists at AccuWeather.com. [Click here to see the video on YouTube. Warning: The footage may be considered disturbing.]
Weather slang
The gustnado designation hasn’t been given to the Indiana storm by the National Weather Service.
“Normally we don’t classify an event as a gustnado,” said Dave Tucek, a meteorologist with the NWS in Indianapolis. According to the NWS storm report, the wind gusts were estimated at between 60 and 70 mph (97 and 113 kph).
Gustnado wind speeds can reach 80 mph (129 kph), according to the National Weather Service. Winds of that speed can cause damage similar to that of an EF-0 or EF-1 tornado, the lowest rankings on the tornado damage scale.
Tucek told OurAmazingPlanet that from the videos he has watched, he does not see evidence of a swirling motion in the dust and that “it’s hard to say for sure,” whether a gustnado formed.
Investigation continues
If a tornado had struck, storm survey teams for the NWS would be investigating to determine the strength. The Indianapolis NWS station has no plans to send a team to investigate the wind damage, Tucek said. The Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the state fire marshal’s office are investigating what caused the collapse, reported the New York Times.
Telling the difference between a strong gustnado and a tornado can be tricky.
Gustnadoes may be accompanied by rain, just like tornadoes, but they are usually wispy or only visible as a debris cloud or dust whirl — a far cry from the dense and menacing funnel clouds of tornadoes.
Yet small tornadoes can seem wispy at first; the key is to look at the top of the suspected gustnado. Unlike tornadoes, gustnadoes are not connected to the storm clouds above, sticking closer to the ground.
True tornadoes spin off huge rotating storm clouds, called mesocyclones, which can tower tens of thousands of feet into the sky. Gustnadoes are more likely to be associated with a shelf cloud, a low, horizontal structure in the front of a thunderstorm.
This article was reprinted with permission from OurAmazingPlanet.

Huge Floods in Manila as Typhoon Hits Philippines

Huge Floods in Manila as Typhoon Hits Philippines – TIME.

(MANILA, Philippines) — Massive flooding hit the Philippine capital on Tuesday as typhoon winds and rains isolated the historic old city where residents waded in waist-deep waters, dodging tree branches and debris. At least seven people were killed.

Authorities ordered more than 100,000 people across the country to shelter from Typhoon Nesat’s rains and wind gusts of up to 106 miles (170 kilometers) per hour. Schools and offices were shuttered, and thousands were stranded by grounded flights and ferries kept in ports.(See photos of Typhoon Roke hitting Japan earlier this year.)

The typhoon made landfall before dawn over eastern mountainous provinces of Isabela and Aurora, which face the Pacific Ocean, then headed inland through farmlands north of Manila, the government weather bureau said. It was packing sustained winds of 87 mph (140 kph).

The first reported death was a 1 year old who drowned in the central island province of Cataduanes after falling into a river, the government disaster agency reported. As the typhoon moved into Manila, a mother and child were killed after their house was hit by a falling tree in the suburb of Caloocan, and four were reported killed by a collapsing wall in the suburb of Valenzuela.

Four fishermen were missing while more than 50 others were rescued along eastern shores after their boats overturned in choppy seas. Forecasters warned of 12-foot-high (4-meter-high) waves.

Along downtown Manila’s baywalk, cars and buses were stuck and residents waded through floodwaters as waves as high as palm trees washed over the seawall, turning a six-lane highway into a huge brown river.(See more on how hurricanes are named.)

Sidewalks and entrances to buildings were swamped and vehicles struggled to navigate the narrow streets.

Manila Hospital moved patients from its ground floor, where waters were neck-deep, spokeswoman Evangeline Morales said. Hospital generators were flooded and the building had no power since early Tuesday.

Visibility in the city was poor, with pounding rains obscuring the view. Emergency workers were evacuating river areas in the city that are notorious for flooding.

An Associated Press photographer said soldiers and police in trucks were moving thousands of residents, mostly women and children, from the Baseco shanty facing Manila port after many houses were washed away. Male family members were reluctant to leave saying they wanted to guard their property.

Residents in one neighborhood of Quezon City, a Manila suburb, were fleeing their homes due to rising water from the nearby San Mateo River, radio reported.

In the financial district of Makati, a billboard fell on two cars and a bus, causing injuries.

With its immense 400-mile (650-kilometer) cloud band, the typhoon threatened to foul weather across the entire main island of Luzon as it moves across the Philippines toward the South China Sea late Wednesday or early Thursday toward southern China.

Heavy downpours and winds prompted the closure of government offices, schools and universities in the capital, while scores of domestic flights were canceled and inter-island ferries grounded, stranding thousands. The Philippine Stock Exchange and U.S. Embassy were also closed Tuesday. Waters at the gates of the embassy compound, which is located along Manila Bay, reached chest-deep.

A tornado in Isabela’s Maconancon town ripped off the roofs of at least five houses, injuring two people, police said.

Power was cut in many parts of Luzon, including in Manila, where hospitals, hotels and emergency services used generators. Tree branches and torn tarpaulins littered the flooded streets. Traffic was light as most people stayed indoors.

About 112,000 people were ordered to leave their homes in five towns prone to flash floods and landslides in central Albay province. By Monday, more than 50,000 had moved to government-run evacuation centers and relatives’ homes, officials said.

“We can’t manage typhoons, but we can manage their effects,” Albay Gov. Joey Salceda said.

Authorities were monitoring farming communities at the base of Mayon volcano in Albay, about 212 miles (340 kilometers) southeast of Manila.

Tons of ash have been deposited on Mayon’s slopes by past eruptions, and mudslides caused by a typhoon in 2006 buried entire villages, leaving about 1,600 people dead and missing.

The typhoon bore down on the Philippines exactly two years after nearly 500 people died in the worst flooding in decades in Manila, a city of 12 million, when a tropical storm hit.

Residents commemorated the anniversary by offering prayers and planting trees Monday.

Nesat is the 16th cyclone to lash the Philippines this year. The geography of the archipelago makes it a welcome mat for about 20 storms and typhoons forming in the Pacific each year.

Associated Press writer Oliver Teves, photographer Bullit Marquez and videographer Joeal Calupitan contributed to this report.