Landspouts Not Uncommon on South Plains - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/30/06

Landspouts Not Uncommon on South Plains

Monday's storms caught some people off guard.  That's because what looked like a tornado twisted through parts of Lubbock.  NewsChannel 11 caught images of what is called a landspout around 5 p.m. Monday afternoon.  Those Landspouts prompted the National Weather Service in Lubbock to issue a tornado warning for Lubbock and Lynn counties.

A Landspout is a tornado, but basically it doesn't pack quite the punch.  Landspouts differ from tornados, one, because they are generally weaker, and two, they form differently.  Where a tornado forms in the clouds and then touches down, with Landspouts, "The formation actually starts from the ground and goes up to the base of the clouds," says Brian LaMarre the Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the National Weather Service. 

Monday's spout did not cause much damage, but they can.  Lamarre says the weather service has reports of Landspouts reaching F1 strength.  "Which is about 50 to 100 miles per hour," LaMarre said.  The spouts also come quick.  NewsChannel 11 Chief Meteorologist John Robison saw two in just a few moments.  "The one I initially saw was developing, and then it dissipated as I watched it, and then a few minutes later, another one developed a little further to the east, so it was in a matter of minutes." 

"The Landspouts are a little bit more challenging for us to actually see on the radar because, again, they from the ground up.  So, what we rely heavily on is our Sky Warn Storm Spotters, the media storm spotters, and just members of the general public, because during the warning process the reports that we receive from you and the general public are going to help use make a decision on whether or not to issue a warning," LaMarre says.

While Landspouts are neat to look at, both LaMarre and Robison say people need to take cover when one is in their area, because again, they can pack strong winds and cause a lot of damage.  LaMarre tells us Landspouts are common in our area.  He says that this season the weather service has seen quite a few Landspouts.  One of the more recent ones happened in southeast Floyd County earlier this month.  Luckily no one was hurt, and there were no reports of any significant damage from that.

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