More on Woodbury Tornado

Today NBC Connecticut obtained home video of a funnel cloud moving through Woodbury last Thursday. I was surprised but not shocked when I took a closer look at Doppler Radar from Long Island during the event.

A rather impressive bow echo developed on the Connecticut/New York line around 4:00 p.m. and raced northeast. A Rear Inflow Jet (RIJ) developed behind the squall line forcing the line to bow out.  Widespread wind damage was reported in Sherman, New Fairfield, and New Milford from this bow echo.

Bow Echo over Sherman and New Fairfiled / OKX Base Reflectivity 0.5º
Rear Inflow Jet from OKX base velocity 0.5º

As the bow echo continued east on the northern portion of the bow echo a mesocyclone developed that spawned a brief tornado in Woodbury.

Though Doppler Radar did not indicate a tight circulation or Tornado Vortex Signature this doesn’t rule out the possibility of a tornado occurring.

Likely Location of Cyclonic Rotating Head at Northern Portion of Bow Echo / OKX Base Reflectivity 0.5º
Downburst Likely Occuring Over Southbury Near Bow Apex While Tornado Occurs to the North / OKX Base Velocity 0.5º

This is not an uncommon occurrence to see a brief tornado touch down on the northern part of a bow echo. The following is a conceptual model of a bow echo from Fujita 1978 courtesy of UCAR.

Bow Echo Conceptual Model (Fujita, 1978) Courtesy: UCAR

Based on the location of damage reports the Doppler Radar evidence does indicate the possibility of a tornado on the northern portion of the bow in Woodbury.

9 thoughts on “More on Woodbury Tornado”

  1. Interesting–thanks for all the details! (I’ve been both fascinated by and terrified of all things tornado-y ever since experiencing those infamous 1989 ones.)

    So, would this have been the same “funnel cloud” that people were saying they saw in New Fairfield and Newtown? Or is that not possible with such a tiny, brief tornado?

    1. Jessica –

      I’m not sure whether or not funnel clouds occurred in New Fairfield or Newtown I think the spotters may have confused other cloud formations for funnel clouds.

  2. Stormy – These storms are almost impossible to warn as the tornadoes are very small and travel very short distances. Occasionally a mesocyclone on the northern side of the hook echo is impressive enough for a tornado warning but most of times they go unwarned. Also the damage the weak tornadoes will do is in a larger area of straight-line wind damage so it’s difficult to do an accurate damage survey.

  3. “Also the damage the weak tornadoes will do is in a larger area of straight-line wind damage so it’s difficult to do an accurate damage survey.”

    And that is what is amazing….that they can identify a tornadic damage pattern within a 30 by 100 yard segment ! That is about 1/2 width of a football field ! Hard to imagine that they can really determine that.

    1. I think if they just surveyed the damage they would not have been able to. However when viewing the damage in addition to impressive home video of a funnel cloud, eyewitness reports, and radar data that suggests the presence of a bookend vortex you can make an educated guess. That seems to be what this is.

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