Tornado in the Netherlands?

tornado-in-the-netherlands

A small tornado has been caught on video on the ground in the Netherlands. The twister was stirring up dust over tilled land in southeastern Netherlands, near the Germany border, late last Friday, local time. Although the video did not clearly show a funnel, it did reveal dark cloud bases, confirming that it was more than a mere “dust devil.” Weather observations from nearby Maastricht indicated that a thunderstorm was in the area at the reported time of the tornado. Even so, temperature and dew point, key markers used in forecasting tornadoes, were relatively low, suggesting that the phenomenon was an example of a “cold air funnel. (AccuWeather)

Tornadoes are not unheard-of in western Europe. Last year there were reports of tornadoes in Spain, Portugal, France, UK, Poland, Germany and Austria.

A cold air funnel is a high based weak circulation that occurs in a cool air mass. By high based it is meant it develops well above the earth’s surface. Since it is high based and weak they rarely impact the earth’s surface although they can look threatening. Unlike typical tornadoes, cold air funnels develop in a shallow cool air mass and often behind a cold frontal passage. The mixing of cool and windy conditions in the lower troposphere with air in the middle troposphere flowing in a different direction may spark the rotation that spins up the funnel. If the air is moist enough and rises enough the condensation funnel will be visible.

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