Valley meteorologist breaks down recent tornado warnings

Valley meteorologist breaks down recent tornado warnings
4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago Thursday, June 20 2024 Jun 20, 2024 June 20, 2024 7:22 PM June 20, 2024 in News - Local

Two tornado warnings were issued late Wednesday night in Hidalgo and Willacy counties by the National Weather Service Brownsville-RGV station.

The warnings came amid the arrival of Tropical Storm Alberto. NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologist Barry Goldsmith said the warnings were issued after their radar picked up the conditions for a potential tornado.

“When the air movement is literally next to each other on the radar, we call the gate to gate sheer, and it's got a cyclonic look to it — kinda like the yin and the yang,” Goldsmith said. “Then we trigger a warning on that, even if it doesn't last long.”

While no tornadoes were reported, the NWS team says the public should remain alert, especially during hurricane season.

“We did see two swirls that were certainly worthy of a short fused tornado warning. The one in the McAllen metropolitan area was the one that scared us because had it hit, it could have caused a period of damage,” Goldsmith said. 

Goldsmith says the spin up can take two to 10 minutes before that circulation is detected on radar.

The NWS tries to send out an alert as soon as possible, while also making sure of what they're really seeing. They look at several different reports before any sort of warning is issued.

Goldsmith says they have to be careful to avoid giving false alarms

“People really take them seriously because it's the highest level of short fuse warning we could issue,” Goldsmith said. “So we want to be really careful that we don't over warn, but also don't miss the opportunity to warn when we see those doppler flows that can produce the rotation, and eventually a tornado."

Goldsmith says if a tornado watch is issued for your area, stay alert.

Once it becomes a tornado warning, get to a safe place inside a building away from windows. 

Watch the video above for the full story. 

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