Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.
By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:22 PM GMT on October 22, 2007
The tropical Atlantic is quiet and none of the reliable computer models forecast formation of the tropical cyclone in the Atlantic over the next five days. However, some of the models are predicting a subtropical storm could form in the Mediterranean Sea by Thursday this week.
Last week's tornado outbreak was one of the largest ever recorded in October, bringing as least 78 twisters to the U.S. beginning October 17, 2007 and continuing into the early hours of October 19. Hardest hit was Michigan, which recorded three deaths and 11 tornadoes.
Since I live in Michigan, friends and family frequently send me photos of weather events in the state. A rare gem landed in my inbox Friday. The photo (below) was undoubtedly the finest one I've ever seen of a Michigan tornado. The tornado formed at about 5 pm EDT just southwest of Black Lake, Michigan, in the northern Lower Peninsula. The twister was rated an EF1 with winds up to 94 mph. It destroyed one barn just north of M-68, leaving a sporadic damage path up through Black Lake about 1/8 mile wide and 10 miles long. When the tornado crossed over Black Lake, Nathan Krinsky took these spectacular pictures from the back deck of his home. The sun was setting at 5:25 pm EDT when the photos were taken, and if you look closely, you can see a rainbow, thanks to the spray kicked up by the tornado.
Figure 1. Black Lake tornado of October 18, 2007 (top) and storm-relative velocity (bottom) from the Doppler radar in Gaylord, Michigan just before the Black Lake tornado crossed over the lake. The characteristic signature of a tornado is evident just southwest of the lake, with an area of strong winds blowing towards the radar (blue colors) right next to an area of strong winds blowing away from the radar (red colors). A classic hook echo is visible in the radar reflectivity animation (330 Kb) of the storm.
Alas, I did not see the Black Lake tornado. I've never seen a tornado, and it has always been a dream of mine to see and photograph a beautiful tornado--literally. In a recurrent dream I've had at least 50 times since I was a boy, I see and attempt to photograph a spectacular tornado. The dreams have two common features:
1) I'm always ABSOLUTELY SURE it is not a dream, and I really am seeing the tornado this time.
2) Something always happens to prevent me from photographing the tornado. Usually, I can't get to my camera, the camera is out of film, or I have go wait in line at the store to buy film while the tornado passes by. My favorite frustration was when the tornado got too close, and tore off the screen door of my house. The latch of the door snagged my camera strap and yanked the camera out of my hands just as I snapped the picture. I watched forlornly as the camera and screen door spiraled up into the tornado, forever lost. In the last few versions of the dream, I haven't even bothered to try to photograph the storm, since I know it is a futile cause. I'll just have to enjoy the photos taken by such lucky people as Nathan Krinsky!
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