Bear, Idaho Tornado Damage

Read this first, but I have posted an update to this story. The NWS has rerated the storm to an F2… that’s more like it. Update Here

As most of you know. I’m a storm chaser. So ofcourse the following story caught my eye.
Tornado in Bear, Idaho

I’ve reviewed the photos and video I’ve seen. Originally it was thought to be a microbust and the photos that were originally shown backed that theory up. However the NWS storm survey ruled it as an F1 tornado. Idaho averages 2 tornado’s a year, mostly F0s. In the past I’ve shared concern about some of the events which have been ruled an F0 tornado. Idaho doesn’t have much in the way of radar coverage. Add to that people around here don’t know anything about storms so reports are hard to sift through. The NWS in Idaho does have their work cut out for them in that regard. Let me be perfectly clear; I respect the NWS and always enjoy working with them, they do a great job and know their stuff (most at least, there was the one forcaster I talked with once that didn’t know there was a difference in Tornados and Gustnados… but that’s a different post)
However, I do believe it’s easy for meteorologists that don’t see much to label wind damage as F0 Tornado. And it’s not like anyone is going to care much less argue… Unless they have an excellent radar profile of the base of the storm they have to have trained eye witness reports (or photos/video) to base their determination on. That’s why SKYWARN training programs are so important.

Back to Bear.
The forcasters apparently were able to find signs of rotation in the damage. Depending on the amount of rotation evidence a determination can be made. What has me curious about this about this incident is the size of the damage area. I don’t doubt it was a Tornado as the NWS team determined. I wonder if they underrated it. The damage area is reported being ten miles long and up to one mile wide. I’ve never had any dealings with an F1 that was one mile wide. Some people think the Fujita scale isn’t really a fair scale, in rural areas. Who knows…

I don’t have the time right now, but I sure wish I could take a trip up to Bear to look over the swath. Tornados are such a facination of mine, storms in general, tornados in particular. I do miss the living in the south and the plains this time of year. I could go for a good chase right now. Though I feel for my fellow chasers dealing with gas prices about now. Makes busted chases even worse.

Read the Update 

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