Saturday, April 16, 2011

Possible Tornado in Leesburg

As the storms moved through Leesburg, the southern edge rushed eastward, met by southeasterly winds at the surface.  As this happened, the storm began to rotate and a brief tornado likely developed directly over Leesburg, touching down for probably less than a minute.  As of right now, the only damage report from Leesburg is a large sign blown down and multiple trees down along S. King street and Davis Ave.  Here are some radar images during the storm:

 This first radar image shows the hook echo directly over the eastern side of Leesburg.  Notice the defined "hook" shape as the storm pulls wind and rain from the storm and rotates.

 This is a closer view from the terminal radar used by Dulles airport.  You can see the clear hook shape over Leesburg which is likely where the tornado was.

This is storm relative velocity at the same time as the previous images.  The bright green on the south side of Leesburg represents winds traveling southbound at 50 to 60 MPH, while the pocket of dark red just to the east of Leesburg represents winds traveling north at 30 to 40 MPH.  This is known as wind shear, or a "couplet" on radar, where wind travels in opposite directions over a very small area.  This commonly represents rotating winds associated with a tornado.

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