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Tornado Forms in Southern California

Monday, February 23, 2015 17:18
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Pacific Storm Garrett has produced what is technically not a real tornado per se just south of the Lost Hills, Kern zones, which was in fact within our Thunderstorm Watch issued before the storms formed so it covered the cells there well, even mentioning funnel clouds being possible.  What is a landspout?  When will the activity move off?  And what is next?  Read on for details.

A landspout is a funnel cloud that has a connection with the ground without a parent mesocyclone lowering.  These are the most common in California during the Winter and Spring months, sometimes in the Summer with the monsoon as well.  These are not technically real tornadoes but because the rotation extends into the base above, they are weakly defined as very weak tornadoes, or landspouts.  A landspout formed just south of Lost Hills today in the Kern County Valleys.  Our Thunderstorm Watch issued this morning took care of that.  Activity will continue over the next two hours and then cease in these areas after sunset.

For the Ventura, Los Angeles, and San Bernardino Valley zones, our Mesoscale Discussion issued this morning has also verified.  A thin alert zone has produced convective cells within the entire length of it, with lightning reported in the San Fernando Valley as well.  The steeper lapse-rates were the cause of those and over the next 1-2 hours through sunset it is possible that strikes may happen in the Northern Inland Empire regions in or around the Mesoscale Discussion zone.

With any case, we’re thinking upper convergence and drier air will work in a couple hours after sunset, which should shut the activity down after the 9-10pm hour and many areas will cease to have any more showers or thunderstorms.

We’re watching this weekend with another impulse out of the north and this will be out next Pacific Storm, which will be named a few days before it hits.  This also has the chance of thunderstorms with it … so stay tuned.

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