Rare landspout observed in Tibet, the first since 1961

Rare landspout observed in Tibet, the first since 1961

Residents of Dangxiong, southwest China's Tibet witnessed and recorded a rare landspout at high altitudes on Saturday, July 1, 2017. 

The event lasted about 10 minutes. According to Xinhua, it is the first time Tibet has observed a landspout since 1961.

There are no reports of damage or injuries.

A landspout, also known as gustnado, is a term coined by meteorologist Howard B. Bluestein in 1985 for a kind of tornado not associated with the mesocyclone of a thunderstorm. 

It is a colloquial expression describing tornadoes occurring with a parent cloud in its growth stage and with its vorticity originating in the boundary layer. The parent cloud does not contain a preexisting midlevel mesocyclone. The landspout was so named because it looks like "a weak Florida Keys waterspout over land."

Landspouts can extend anywhere from 9 to 90 m (30 to 300 feet) above the surface and usually last a few seconds to a few minutes. They may have wind speeds of 96 - 129 km/h (60 to 80 mph) and may cause damage equivalent to an EF-0 or EF-1 tornado.

There are reports of landspouts that lasted for more than 15 minutes and those that produced an EF-3 tornado equivalent damage. However, most of them rarely produce damage.

Featured image: Rare landspout witnessed and recorded in Tibet on July 1, 2017. Credit: New China TV

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