Re: Microburst or Tornado? El Nino 2016
Here in Coastal Northern California, Tornados are rare, but not unknown.
When we first moved here, we settled at the end of a long dirt and gravel road. That first Summer, I saw something rather amazing to those young City Eyes- Dust Devils. Due to Geography, and the Prevailing Westerlies, they danced along the road right in front of our home, on hot Summer afternoons. They weren't very big, maybe fifteen feet tall, and they didn't last very long; one whipped up, lasted for a few seconds, and then collapsed, just as another one formed behind it.
We loved them. My Sisters and I would run on the gravel, chasing them, hoping for something Oz-like.
That Summer, once the House and Shetland Ponies were sorted out, I got my Boat. An El Toro. At first I sailed the front lawn, and slept in it at night. My Parents had no problem with this, just as they had no problems a few years later when I would disappear into the Hills for a couple of days, with a sleeping bag, a telescope, and a couple of tins of Dinty Moore. My Parents, by Modern Standards, might be considered to have been a bit Loony.
One June afternoon, I was tacking on the Deep Green Sea, heading for the Bunny Cage, (Sisters,...), when a Dust Devil took a detour, spun the El Toro completely around, and tore the gooseneck out of the mast, leaving an ugly and obvious to Parental Eyes, mast crack. So within a few days, I was on Water, instead of on Lawn.
(Years later, heading for Catalina, I was hit by a Whipperwill just off Point Sur. The Gybe Preventer did its job, and the Boom Gooseneck tore off the mast, taking about five feet of mast track with it.)
That's all gone now. The Dirt Road is now Asphalt, and the little grungy "Ranchettes" are now Million Dollar Homes with three car garages, and the little Shetland Ponies that were something of a fad back then, in their little backyard barns, for little girls, have long died off.
No Dust Devils there now, and anyway, the Climate has changed, in more ways then one. That first Winter five decades ago, we had snow on the hills, that due to peculiarities of Geography and Weather patterns, haven't seen snow now in more than two decades. Occasionally, we get short fast winds and heavy hail instead. Usually in May.
Once, in 1987, I was sailing West under the old Carquinez Bridge with some old friends and family, and we spotted, well, something, not far off, in the North Bay. So we dropped sail and chased it, courtesy of Mr. Volvo.
A Cone of water would rise a few feet, and then collapse, and then form again.
And finally, it rose- a Waterspout that must have been two hundred feet high... ok, maybe a hundred feet. It was magnificent, for as long as it lasted.
I expect that these may now become more common.