First-Ever Fire Tornado Warning Issued By National Weather Service in California
The 2020 Apocalypse Bingo card is almost full.
— shon gables cbs46 (@shongables) August 16, 2020
To state the obvious: 2020 has been one hell of a year. Incredibly tragic celebrity deaths, the novel coronavirus pandemic, huge socio-cultural and political upheavals—not to mention plagues of locusts and heatwaves. And on August 15, 2020, the National Weather Service issued its first-ever warning for a fire tornado.
That’s right. A tornado. Of fire.
For the first time in history, a tornado warning has been issued for a likely *fire tornado*.
These are not "firewhirls." This is a rotating smoke plume being ingested into a pyrocumulonimbus cloud that could produce a bonafide fire-induced tornado.
Tornadic wind speeds. pic.twitter.com/KwtAMv3qVp
— Matthew Cappucci (@MatthewCappucci) August 15, 2020
Atmospheric scientist Matthew Cappucci explained how incredible this was in a tweet featuring screengrabs of the actual warning as well as a tornadic signature on radar:
For the first time in history, a tornado warning has been issued for a likely *fire tornado*. These are not “firewhirls.” This is a rotating smoke plume being ingested into a pyrocumulonimbus cloud that could produce a bonafide fire-induced tornado. Tornadic wind speeds.
We’ve written about fire vortexes and the fire whirl that rose from a burning bourbon distillery, but Cappucci made it clear this was a different animal. So did multiple awe-inspiring and frankly terrifying videos and images posted on social media.
The "Fire Tornado" #LoyaltonFire is less than 20 miles away.
Here's some photos my friend took on the road sometime this afternoon. pic.twitter.com/jR076cmVwR
— Ginger #CA01 🌲❄ (@Destiny22Ginger) August 16, 2020
I don't think I'd call it 'gorgeous', but this is a scientific first — not a 'fire whirl' but an actual fire Tornado.
2020, the year of Apocalypses. https://t.co/fII3KE7mhn
— Dr. Jack Brown (@DrGJackBrown) August 16, 2020
— Shark NewsWires (@SharkNewsWires) August 16, 2020
The Sacramento Bee contacted the forecaster who wrote the warning and he said that it was indeed “probably the first time” such an alert has “been issued outside of a thunderstorm environment.”
Later Saturday night, Mother Nature doubled down by hitting the San Francisco Bay area with an epic electrical storm.
— COCO (@simpinshawty) August 16, 2020
Nothing like a thunderstorm waking up the whole Bay at 330 AM ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/PuJirU66eo
— JSquared (@_JordanJimenez) August 16, 2020
Today in Oakland it was 91 thousand damn degrees and now it's raining.
— Diana Helmuth (@defnotlost) August 16, 2020