Another Tornado West of Albany, NY

Last May 2 tornadoes produced quite a bit of damage around Albany, NY. Today, a tornado touched down near I-88 around Duanesburg. It was a somewhat odd setup with the supercell forming on the warm side of a north-south draped warm front in the Hudson Valley. Instability was modest – around 1000  j/kg of MLCAPE but sizable deep layer shear (vector difference on the order of 40+ knots from 0-6km) was sufficient for supercells.


The supercell that formed produced a powerful low and mid level mesocyclone that produced large hail (3″ in diameter in Amsterdam) and a tornado that was on the ground for several minutes and produced at least EF-1 damage.


The debris ball here is quite impressive and the presence of tornado is guaranteed based on the lofted debris picked up by radar. The folks at the National Weather Service recognized the signature and sent out a Severe Weather Statement referencing the TDS but unfortunately the statement wasn’t available in a timely manner on some sources due to a national communications issue.


Regardless, the National Weather Service in Albany will investigate the tornado tomorrow and come up with a EF-scale rating. I’m guessing they were able to get a decent lead time on the warning as well as the tornado debris signature didn’t show up until several volume scans after the initial warning was issued.

What is odd about this event is the number of significant hail reports across New York and Pennsylvania given only modest instability. It’s a good reminder that the dynamically induced vertical pressure gradient in a powerful supercell is enough to produce one hell of an updraft (and giant hail) even without strong instability.


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