14 July 2012

Tornado/Land Spout On The Eastern Shore of Virginia Today

Posted by Dan Satterfield

Near Onley, VA. Image by Cole Boniwell and Ted Painter

This was probably a water spout over land, but the thunderstorm was very intense and it may have been a regular tornado. The damage was light but there was some power outages and trees down, along with some minor structural damage. The storm formed along the sea-breeze and the local changes in wind direction likely helped to produce the rotation that was stretched vertically by the updraft, and formed the funnel.

Notice that the funnel forms in the updraft part of the storm, with the heavy rain just behind it, where air is descending. Land spouts can produce damage but usually it’s in the EF0 to EF 1 category. The term “land spout” was coined by Dr Howard Bluestein at the Univ. of Oklahoma (and one of my former OU Meteorology instructors). That said, the more images I see make me believe this may have been a regular tornado…

GOES visible image of the storm over the southern part of the Delmarva in Accomack County, on the eastern shore of Virginia. NASA GOES image.