A tornado warning was issued for the Highland County area at 3:51 p.m. Monday, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) in Wilmington. The tweet said that the warning was valid until 4:15 p.m., with a tornado being “radar indicated” and quarter-sized hail possible.
Dave Bushelman, director of Highland County Emergency Management Agency, said that there were no reports of damage to the county from the storm.
Kristen Cassidy, a meteorologist at the NWS, said the organization issued the warning in the area because one of the thunderstorms showed signs of rotation in lower parts of the atmosphere. She also said that the NWS had not received any reports of damage from the area to indicate any type of tornado touchdown.
She said that the warnings are typically anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes. However, she also said that if the NWS sees that the thunderstorm in question starts to become more disorganized, the organization can opt to cancel the tornado warning a bit earlier.
“What we saw (Monday) was a rather unique storm system,” Cassidy said. “The individual storms themselves are what we call supercells, which essentially means that the up-draft, the thunderstorm itself, was rotating and that happens because of changes in direction and speed of the winds between the lower part of the atmosphere. And so, we had a lot of those thunderstorms roll through the region right during the afternoon where we have the most heating, and so the combination of the, kind of, how unstable the atmosphere was with the changes in the wind speed and direction in the lower part of the atmosphere led to the development of numerous super cell thunderstorms and some of those thunderstorms produced, you know, some funnel clouds. We had some pictures and videos of funnel clouds, and likely what was at least a few tornadoes as well.”
Cassidy said the super cell thunderstorm storm “mainly” impacted the central and northern parts of the county. She said there were other thunderstorms outside the county area that “likely did produce a tornado.”
She said the NWS sent survey teams to investigate any possible damage caused by the storms in Pickaway, Clarke and Butler counties.
Cassidy said the teams were sent out to determine if there was a tornado and what the rating might be, the latter of which is dictated by how strong they believe the winds were.
“Our survey teams have been trained to investigate and identify different types of damage that occurred to trees, to different types of structures,” Cassidy said. “They take everything into account, which way the debris was blown, whether there’s what we call a convergent pattern, whether the debris is converging to a center point, whether it’s diverging, and then they use that in conjunction with storm motion to determine what type of winds may have been involved in creating that particular damage.”
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