Cambridge Tornado or Squall?

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Philip Duncan
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Cambridge Tornado or Squall?

Unread post by Philip Duncan »

Damage in Cambridge this morning... without seeing the damage it's hard to know if it was a tornado or squall... any thoughts?

Story here: http://www.weatherwatch.co.nz/content/c ... le-tornado

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Re: Tornado or Squall?

Unread post by tgsnoopy »

Media heard describing it as a mini... Sigh.

Apparently over 30 houses damaged that they knew of before sunrise. Expecting further reports as it gets light.

About 3am, significant gusts and heavy rain associated with it.
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Re: Tornado or Squall?

Unread post by Philip Duncan »

Looking at the radar shots around 3am shows it was certainly at the very front of the rain band.
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Re: Tornado or Squall?

Unread post by Manukau heads obs »

from your own story Phillip:
But she says the noise became very loud, so she opened the sliding doors to take a look and saw the funnel of wind rushing towards the building
conditions were unstable here yesterday afternoon,so not all that surprised that a tornado occured!
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Re: Tornado or Squall?

Unread post by Manukau heads obs »

Stuff have added more content to their initial report too now:
http://www.stuff.co.nz/4730293a11.html
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Re: Tornado or Squall?

Unread post by tgsnoopy »

I see that Mini term again.

Lets start e-mailing them asking them to stop using it, perhaps with a little education in the form of a few e-mails they might get the message?

It's not so mini, and reports do imply it was possibly a tornado.
Last edited by tgsnoopy on Fri 17/10/2008 07:51, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tornado or Squall?

Unread post by Manukau heads obs »

yes, when , in the media, does it not become a mini tornado?
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Re: Tornado or Squall?

Unread post by ricky »

The New Plymouth radar does show some interesting activity around that time, I wonder if Paul or someone from Metservice could post a high res image? the radar would be seeing rain at some height that far away I imagine
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Re: Tornado or Squall?

Unread post by NZstorm »

Looking at the online Cambridge station there was a sharp shower of about 14mm around the time of the frontal passage but not much wind recorded, just a light Northerly. So the tornado missed it. Pity these thing happen at night.
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Re: Tornado or Squall?

Unread post by spwill »

Pity these thing happen at night.
Probably the reason why no one was hurt, two houses have had their roofs removed so a lot of wind there.
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Re: Tornado or Squall?

Unread post by jamie »

Arhhh the media makes me angry with the word mini :mad: . Could they not have said a "strong squall or tornado went through Cambridge last night. Weather analysts are going to survey the damge at first light to confirm if there was actually or tornado". If it was a tornado then anounce what they think it was on the EF scale or say there was no tornado and it was a very strong squall :wave: .
I lost count how many times i have heard the word mini tornado thismorning :rolleyes: .
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Re: Tornado or Squall?

Unread post by NZstorm »

There is little doubt this was a tornado I think. That weather station in Cambridge recorded only light winds which points to the very localised effect you get with a tornado. The meteorology also favours a tornado occurrence over a squall.
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Re: Tornado or Squall?

Unread post by Nev »

I agree. However, even if it wasn't a tornado, I'm not sure that I'd call it a squall either - too broad and general. Couldn't a squall-line even produce the odd tornado? Going by the isolated damage reports, it was either a tornado or a micro/down-burst, although it certainly sounds like a tornado going by this report from 'Stuff'. Most of the damage was around the south suburb of Leamington (google map)
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Re: Tornado or Squall?

Unread post by Manukau heads obs »

yes, I agree, I was just talking to Ricky about the fact that there is little wind in these systems, i.e. its not squall producing conditions (although you could still get some downdrafts occuring I guess)
Will be interesting to hear Paul's take on it all :)
Most of the damage was around the south suburb of Leamington
wow, that weather station is on the south side of town...just on the outskirts of town..

also we stayed at the Lemington Motel in the school holidays, just 2 weeks ago, and played in the park there, descriobed in that story!
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Re: Tornado or Squall?

Unread post by spwill »

There was very little in the way of Thunderstorm activity with last nights Cb line and no strikes were recorded around Cambridge.
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Re: Tornado or Squall?

Unread post by Manukau heads obs »

I wonder if topography had some influence,...i.e the waikato river is a deep gorge there , with Leamington being on the south side of that...
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Re: Tornado or Squall?

Unread post by ricky »

Here are a couple of radar images from around that time.. I wonder if that persistant hook of showers is evidence of some mesocyclonic activity just ahead of the main frontal line?... it lasted quite a while from around 3am and Cambridge is right in the upper part of the hook of showers.. it is over a very wide area though and i'm not sure what heights that radar would be seeing.. Interesting though
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Re: Tornado or Squall?

Unread post by Storm Struck »

How isolated does a micro/burst have to be though as per the video report which suggested a rest home was only half damaged?.
Certainly would have been a real shock to wake up to especially those who slept through it.
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Re: Tornado or Squall?

Unread post by Manukau heads obs »

I vote that it was a Tornado _b :wave:
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Re: Tornado or Squall?

Unread post by jamie »

Manukau heads observer wrote:I vote that it was a Tornado _b :wave:
Me too
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Re: Tornado or Squall?

Unread post by spwill »

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Re: Tornado or Squall?

Unread post by tgsnoopy »

Agreed, little doubt, that was a tornado.
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Re: Tornado or Squall?

Unread post by Philip Duncan »

Agree it was a Tornado. Amazing photos have come through...love the one with the roofing iron embedded in the tree.
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Re: Tornado or Squall?

Unread post by Paul Mallinson »

I think it was a tornado too. Having looked back through various info this morning, this idea is consistent with the meteorological situation. Agree that it was likely an F0 or an F1.
I saw an e-mail from a couple of guys sitting on their verandah (at 3am in the morning!!) who say they saw the funnel and that it passed right over their house!

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Re: Tornado or Squall?

Unread post by NZstorm »

This event reminds me of the Auckland tornado back on 11 October 2005. Occurred in similar circumstances.
We are lucky we don't get higher instability values with these spring systems as the shear would be supportive of very mean Tstorms.
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