Today I will share yet another avenue of my research in my “Meteorology and Myth” science education series.
There is room for more research on multiple vortex tornados. I would like to find a good student to work with me on this chapter.
Multiple vortex tornados contain several small but intense vortices revolving around the main tornado funnel cloud. These should not be confused with double (or other multiple) tornados produced by the same supercell thunderstorm.
Multiple vortex tornados produce some spooky images. The individual vortices seems to kick around as if they are alive. Our imaginations sometimes see a human-like figure.
The tornado vortex on the right appears to be “walking away”. The “Dead Man Walking” image in the poster is a still photo of the May 27, 1997 F-5 Tornado which killed 27 people in Jerrell, Texas. The tornado started out as a small rope, but grew into a large, multiple-vortex monster as it slowly walked across the landscape. I will share a documentary of that terrible day.
There is also another documentary worth viewing about this tornado.
YouTube user Antarctic Vortex has posted the full TLC Channel documentary. It is an important part of pop cultural history as well. It looks like the video was transferred from an old VHS tape recording. You can see the tracking lines at various points. Furthermore, the commercial breaks have been retained. This video is about a terrible, tragic event, but it was amusing to see the anachronisms about sharing photographs on America Online, or shopping at Blockbuster stores. The Native American legend is mentioned at time 16 minutes in, as a frightening moment is recreated in the documentary. It also includes a still frame of the “Dead Man Walking” image.
Look for an update to this chapter of Meteorology and Myth later in the 2020-21 academic year.
Agee, E. M., J. T. Snow, and P. R. Clare, 1976: Multiple Vortex Features in the Tornado Cyclone and the Occurrence of Tornado Families. Mon. Wea. Rev., 104, 552–563, https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0493(1976)104<0552:MVFITT>2.0.CO;2.
Clay, Nolan. 2013. “Oklahoma storms: Amateur storm chaser took photo of tornado that killed him”. The Oklahoman. June 4, 2013. https://oklahoman.com/article/3841315/oklahoma-storms-amateur-storm-chaser-took-photo-of-tornado-that-killed-him?
NOAA Storm Prediction Center. 2020. National Severe Storm Laboratory Public Domain Tornado Images. Accessed June 1, 2020. https://www.spc.noaa.gov/faq/tornado/torscans.htm
Wurman, J., 2002: The Multiple-Vortex Structure of a Tornado. Weather and Forecasting, 17, 473–505, https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0434(2002)017<0473:TMVSOA>2.0.CO;2.
Wurman, J., K. Kosiba, P. Robinson, and T. Marshall, 2014: The Role of Multiple-Vortex Tornado Structure in Causing Storm Researcher Fatalities. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Societ., 95, 31–45, https://doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-13-00221.1