Tornadoes embedded in a squall line are tough to track
FOX34 Chief Meteorologist Matt Ernst takes a look at some of the radar data from a brief tornado near Anton last night.
Meredith Aldis spoke with a member of the National Weather Service Lubbock office surveying damage, who confirmed a tornado occurred late Tuesday near Anton. It'll likely be rated an EF-1 or EF-2.
These kinds of tornadoes are tough to track. In West Texas we often see supercells that are by themselves, with an obvious hook echo on reflectivity and velocity couplet inside of the hook. We didn't have these storms in our area last night. We had a squall line racing from west to east. A tornado watch was issued for the western half of our area because there was enough twisting of the wind with height to support tornadoes, though the primary risk was straight-line wind.
The first attached image shows in the upper right quadrant a small, but fairly tight velocity couplet at 10:33 p.m. near Anton. We'd been watching this couplet move northeast fairly quickly across Hockley County.
In the second image, at 10:39 p.m., the bottom right quadrant has a circle within the correlation coefficient display. This radar product shows us the uniformity or similarity of objects at the radar beam height. Raindrops are all fairly similar, leading to a high CC value, shown in red/pink. The blue that's circled is a lower value, suggesting objects aren't the same. This shows debris being lofted.
The first image doesn't confirm a tornado, but did suggest one was possible. While watching the radar I missed one or two scans where the velocity tightened up a bit. I also should've seen the drop in CC value, albeit to this value for just one or two scans. The blue on CC along with the velocity display are a combination that lets us know there likely is, or briefly was, a tornado.
Tornadoes along squall lines sometimes form and dissipate within minutes. It's a challenge. And tracking severe weather is a learning process. I should've noticed the drop in CC while it was happening. Granted, this tornado may have been so brief that we probably wouldn't have been able to say anything about it until after it was done. But we'll continue to work on providing as much lead time as possible.
I'll post more here as information becomes available on the storm.