Tornado Outbreak Eastern New Mexico, Clovis Damage (VIDEO)

Storms chasers caught three tornadoes on video about 20 miles north of Lovington, New Mexico, which is 40 miles south of Clovis, New Mexico. A tornado that hit Clovis was one of 13 that struck the Texas-New Mexico border from Friday night into Saturday. The Clovis tornado hit about 7:54 p.m. Friday and injured at least 13 people.


Damage from Clovis tornado, Mobile Home Park at Hickory and 2nd St [MAP/SAT] (from Clovis News Journal, YouTube cnjonline) at about 6:30 a.m. Saturday.


Three Tornados in Eastern New Mexico, Video from 40 Miles South of Clovis (from TornadoVideodotnet)

You hear the tornado chasers say “Here comes the … ah … RFD! Is the rain wrapping?”  As rainfall in a storm increases, it drags with it an area of quickly descending air known as the rear flank downdraft (RFD).  The downdraft accelerates as it approaches the ground, and drags the rotating mesocyclone towards the ground.

“Are we about to get hooked?”  … is also heard. The hook echo is one of the classical hallmarks of tornado-producing supercell thunderstorms as seen on weather radar. The echo is produced by rain, hail, or even debris being wrapped around the supercell. Getting ‘hooked’ while storm chasing is getting caught in a number of possible dangerous situations. One, the original tornado  or another one that flanked the original tornado you were observing could bear down on you. Additionally an incredible downdraft of rain, hail and debris occurs right near the tornado. Or there can be upward, lifting motion, baseball size hail or heavy debris traveling horizontally in high winds. Sometimes you can actually see a hook-like cloud (shelf cloud) trailing southwest of the tornado or mesocyclone. The bright red colors at the tornado location on radar can represent not only rain or hail as in thunderstorm radar, but the aggregate radar signature of car parts, sheet metal, pieces of houses, flying tree branches, dirt and other debris, sucked up thousands of feet skyward by the tornado vortex. In some types of radar red and yellow pixels represent high winds approaching the radar and green and blue pixels represent high winds away from the radar and therefore rotation if its in a tight spot.

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Sources:
NWS Norman, Oklahoma – Weather Glossary for Storm Spotters
Storm Chasing with Safety, Courtesy, and Responsibility by Charles A. Doswell III