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Landspout blows through Del Norte

Posted: Thursday, Sep 27th, 2012

Del Norte residents Bill and Julie Sauvigne lost a section of their roof on Tuesday afternoon when a landspout tornado ripped through Del Norte.

Courier staff writer

DEL NORTE — An unconfirmed landspout tornado touched down south of Del Norte causing property damage Tuesday afternoon.

National Weather Service Warning Coordination Meteorologist Tom Magnuson, located in Pueblo, said on Wednesday afternoon the service was still investigating what might have been a landspout tornado, also know as a dust tube tornado, which moved through the intersection of French Avenue and Yucca Court around 2 p.m.

“This is not unusual for the San Luis Valley,” Magnuson said in a telephone interview. “They are associated with big dust devils.”

He said the Del Norte incident lasted between four and five minutes.

Del Norte residents Bill and Julie Sauvigne lost a section of their roof and a gable during the event, according to reports. Their travel trailer was also pushed 10 feet up their driveway and onto their patio.

The landspout tornado spared all humans in its path.

Landspout tornadoes form as a growing convective cloud ingests and tightens a rotating boundary layer during intense updraft, according to The Weather Guys website. Landspouts most often occur in drier areas with high-based storms and considerable low-level instability. They are generally smaller and weaker than supercellular tornadoes, though many persist longer than 15 minutes and some have produced severe damage. They are not associated with the mesocyclone of a thunderstorm.

Landspouts usually comprise a translucent and highly laminar helical tube, according to The Weather Guys. They are classified as tornadoes because an intensely rotating column of air is in contact with both the surface and a cumuliform cloud. Not all landspouts are visible, and many are first sighted as debris swirling at the surface before they eventually fill in with condensation and dust.

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