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    Jesse Ferrell

    Tornado Dopplergangers: AccuWeather HQ Shelf Cloud

    By Jesse Ferrell, Meteorologist/Community Director
    6/01/2012, 6:58:54 AM

    This afternoon a storm developed suddenly west of AccuWeather HQ. Before I could assemble my tripod, Henry Margusity dragged me from my desk into the lobby to see the storm's impressive shelf cloud:


    There were also some vertical scud at the front of the gust front, creating these funnel-cloudlike features; tornado "dopplergangers" if you will, but we weren't fooled; there was no rotation associated with them (see the blog entry I wrote earlier this month for more vertical clouds).

    Here's a video starring Henry (high-res on YouTube):

    Even when the shelf cloud was over us, the storm didn't look impressive on radar (loop) and I was surprised to see such a defined shelf cloud; the cross-section radar looked a little more severe:


    In the end, the storm sparked a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for us; prior, it appeared that a shield was protecting us as warnings went all around us. It was hard to see much on the 3-D shot, in part because the storm was too close to the radar, but blog reader Ralph sent me this image (both 2D & 3D were provided by GRAnalyst software):


    Further west, Elliot Abrams got this time-lapse from his house:

    Again, the shelf cloud, and the scud below it, are very impressive. I took a couple of video stills from his video, showing some interesting vertical structures:


    But they are just more tornado dopplergangers (in this case probably the perspective optical illusion I mentioned in the blog entry I wrote earlier this month). Some of our Pennsylvania Storm Chasers also got a few pictures of the storms.


    Over 24,000 lightning strikes hit the state yesterday, with good coverage except for the southeast. I only got one strike on video; the lightning developed suddenly, didn't last long, and was mostly internal (rain-wrapped) with the storms.


    This high-res MODIS satellite shot shows the first line of storms (center) coming through -- there was some lightning but not great clouds with these.


    The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com


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    Jesse Ferrell