The Dramatic Harper Night Tornado
Page 3

All images and text
© copyright Gene Moore

The main body of the funnel lifts of the ground and a merry-go-round of small vortices spun around the base.   The funnel continues to lift with occasional small filaments of condensation reaching the ground. The low clouds in the background comprised the northern outer edge of the wall cloud. They were rotating around the tornado, back to the west, as it moved east.   This is the highest the funnel got off the ground before quickly coming back down. Light dust can be seen around the base of the funnel, but the lightning burned most of it out in this image.  

This three degree tilt shot shows both a hook and the displaced echo to the southeast near Attica, approaching Harper from the west. This is near 9:00 PM. CDT   The three degree velocity tilt shows both circulations. The furthest southwest couplet is the circulation approaching Harper just after 9:07 PM CDT.   At 9:15 the hook turns into a notch and pendent. On radar the cells appear to be merging.  

The condensation extended to the ground again and the tornado grew larger.   The tornado changed appearance in the darkness with filaments of condensation reaching the ground then lifting.   A wide angle of the scene with the tornado and remaining structure of the wall cloud.  

The tornado is again getting larger and looks more stable that the previous shots, but it won't last.   The funnel quickly lifts as shown in this shot. The color is somewhat different as the lightning was occasionally coming from a different part of the storm.   The bottom of the tornado is getting dramatically thinner in this image while dry air eats away at the wall cloud.  

Dry air is now taking its toll on both the tornado and the wall cloud. The tornado narrows quite a bit in this image, but this narrowing and strengthening happened frequently before the final rope out stage.   Both light rain and dust were wrapping around the funnel, but the lightning remained bright enough to give us a good view.   During this sequence the final stage of the tornado is in progress. The contorted tube to rope was beginning to be more difficult to see through the rain and dust. Also the frequency of the lightning was beginning to deminish.  

When it's very dark, other than the lightning it's difficult to see obstructions until they get in the camera. In this shot the (oops) tree forced a late move of the tripod.   The final rope out is almost complete as the base of the condensation funnel thinned. The tornado is still on the ground in this image including a large dust cloud hiding the bottom of the funnel.   This is one of the final good shots of the tornado I have, although I did see one more series of a contorted rope after this scene. The tornado had lasted 18 minutes and was getting distant.  


One of the damaged houses south of Harper. Nearby another home was cleared to the foundation, but the damage rating was classified at F-4. This house was probably hit by the large tornado that struck just after sunset, or about 30 minutes before the next tornadic supercell approached after dark. Three tornadoes passed just south of Harper on the evening and night of the 12th.

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