We had an energetic thunderstorm this afternoon (August 19). When I walked out on my back porch to admire it, here’s what I saw:
I’d guess it was about half a mile to the north-north-west of us.
And then it got closer:
Mind you, here in Sandia Park (NM) we’re at almost 7,000 feet elevation. I didn’t think we got tornadoes … so what the heck is it?
A neighbor who is meteorologically sophisticated told me it was a downspout. According to the National Weather service, it was a funnel cloud. By definition, a funnel cloud isn’t a tornado unless it touches down and wreaks some havoc on the surface. I watched this one for 20 minutes or so and never saw it touch down.
This phenomenon was unusual enough to make our local news:
But they are rare - either because so few people live above 5,000' that the tornadoes that do occur aren’t seen and reported, or (according to MSNBC), because mountains like ours break up the large-scale weather systems that give rise most tornadoes ...
What a long, strange summer this has been!