Storm Was Not A Tornado, Meteorologist Says
Was it a tornado that hit Potsdam Tuesday, blowing roofs off buildings and knocking down trees and power lines?
A meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Burlington, Vermont says no, it was not.
Shown above is a photo taken near Hogansburg - about 30 miles northeast of Potsdam - of what looks like a funnel formation.
Meteorologist Andy Nash says it's not a tornado. He calls it a gust front or a shelf cloud.
"It's not a funnel, it's along the leading edge of the storm," he said in an email.
"If you notice, you can see evidence of rain falling over on the lower right side of the picture behind this cloud formation," he said.
"So, being on the leading edge, it's not a funnel."
Nash says based on eye-witness accounts and by analyzing the data, he believes the wind during the storm was in a straight line, which does not indicate a tornado.
He said the trees and roofs that were damaged in Potsdam were all blown in the same direction - east.
"I've got high confidence it wasn't a tornado," he said.
He says the winds hit before the rain and that's not what happens during a tornado.
"In this case, all the wind happened before the rain even started, so that's telling us the wind was blowing out of the thunderstorm."
Nash also said the storm shouldn't be called a microburst, either.
He said was simply straight-line winds from a powerful thunderstorm.
Even so, Nash thinks winds were clocked at 70 to 80 miles an hour.
Monday, May 20, 2013, Watertown, NY
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