Terrible Tornado Watch: SPC Busted
By Quincy Vagell on July 27, 2012, 12:09pm
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The SPC issued a Tornado Watch yesterday, but it was largely a BUST.
The map above shows the Tornado Watch and all of the official storm reports.
When the Tornado Watch was issued, I was very confused as to why the Watch was so far north and east. In fact, I talked to Gil throughout the afternoon and we were trying to figure out why this area had a Tornado Watch and portions of New Jersey, southeast New York and southwest Connecticut did not have any Watches at all. (They later issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch for the area)
Also, the area outlined in black above, which had no storm reports, was pretty much partly to mostly cloudy throughout the day. There was very little daytime heating and really no spark to kick off a significant tornado threat. (Areas further south went mostly sunny and in the end had all of the storm reports.)
The one storm that did produce an unconfirmed tornado near Elmira, moved east-southeastward and spawned several Tornado Warnings right to the Hudson River. Even though the possible tornado was long over before that point, there were impressive wind reports of 50-70 MPH along a line from Binghamton to Newburgh, NY and right to the CT border at Danbury.
Below is the Significant Tornado Parameter data from 5 p.m. Thursday.
Values over 1 indicate a high risk of tornadoes. Elmira, NY was in the 1+ zone, but many areas in the Watch, including Litchfield County and the Berkshires were below 0.5.
The only thing I could think of after discussing the information with other Meteorologists is that perhaps the SPC was expecting storms to fire along the warm front. The front had lifted north into the Albany and western Massachusetts area. Also, wind shear was fairly significant here.
With that said, I still think it was a huge miss on the part of the SPC.
In an article from Thursday morning, I highlighted southwestern CT as the high threat zone for damaging storms. At the same time, all of the weather data was saying the same thing.
Read on for some more images and details.