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Thursday, September 24, 2020

California residents share videos of ‘fire tornadoes’ as heat and storm worsen wildfires

Firefighters are battling more than a dozen wildfires across California in a scorching heatwave, and the sudden thunderstorms have only made the situation worse.

By: Trends Desk | New Delhi | August 18, 2020 3:48:34 pm
california wildfire, california fire tornado, firenado california, fire tornado videos, california heat wave, viral news, indian expressThis photo provided by Katelynn & Jordan Hewlett, a funnel appears in a thick plume of smoke from the Loyalton Fire is seen in Lassen County, Calif., Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020. A wildfire in Northern California on Saturday spawned at least one fire tornado that prompted the National Weather Service to issue a tornado warning. The Loyalton Fire in Lassen County, Calif., burned intensely amid hot and dry conditions on Saturday afternoon. (Katelynn & Jordan Hewlett via AP)

The state of California in the US is witnessing severe wildfires this year, but residents have to suffer an additional unique phenomenon called a ‘fire tornado’ due to an extreme heatwave. Residents have been sharing images and videos of the  natural phenomenon on social media even as the first-ever warning of ‘firenadoes’ was issued.

“For the first time in history, a tornado warning has been issued for a likely fire tornado,” Washington Post meteorologist Matthew Cappucci said. “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.”’

A warning released by a local weather station said that clouds from a wildfire was “capable of producing a fire included tornado and outflow of winds in excess of 60 mph.”

According to NASA, pyrocumulonimbus is a weather condition characterised by merging smoke, fire and thunderstorm conditions. It results in the formation of a pyrocumulus cloud, which typically form in association with wildfires or volcanic eruptions due to the intense heating of the air, which cools and condenses as it ascends.

Firefighters are battling more than a dozen wildfires across California in a scorching heatwave, and the sudden thunderstorms have only made the situation worse.

Watch the videos here:

People on social media wondered if there is anything worse left to be witnessed in 2020.

The fire was “burning so incredibly intense, so there is just so much heat going into it” that air rose in a swirl just like what happens in some thunderstorms, said Dawn Johnson, a senior meteorologist at the Reno NWS told AP. “It almost looks like a bomb went off.”

About 40,000 acres have been charred by a fire that was started by lightning close to Loyalton, a community along the California-Nevada border near Reno. As of Monday afternoon, officials said it was 10 per cent contained after destroying 11 structures, including five homes, the Tahoe National Forest said.

Record-breaking heat is possible through the weekend, with triple-digit temperatures and unhealthy air predicted for many parts of the state.

Death Valley recorded a scorching 130 degrees (54.4 degrees Celsius) Sunday, which if the sensors and other conditions check out, would be the hottest Earth has been in more than 89 years and the third-warmest ever measured.

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