It’s not every day that we hear about tornadoes in the mountains, but it seems that one may have struck recently. Residents of Star Valley, Arizona were witness to what appeared to be a tornado ripping through their community over the weekend.
A tornado sent shivers down the spine of Star Valley, Arizona, as it touched down on Sunday. The incident was captured on video, and it was a terrifying sight. The mountain communities were hit hard, and it was the most potent November tornado they had seen since 1996.
The twisting funnel at 5,150 feet elevation left residents in shock.
As he captured the scene on his phone, a father exclaimed, “I have never witnessed a tornado in the mountains before.”
The family’s inflatable Christmas decorations in the front yard were flattened by strong winds.
What sets apart a tornado, waterspout, landspout, and dust devil from each other?
On Sunday, an apparent tornado caught two girls and their father off guard as it touched down across the street from their location.
The father yelled to his screaming daughters, “Get inside, girls!”
Another woman expressed her fear, saying “I was so scared. What is happening?”
Many people were caught off guard by the tornado because of the widely believed misconception that tornadoes cannot form on mountains.
According to the NWS Milwaukee office, even though tornado development is not ideal on mountain tops, there have been instances where tornadoes have crossed the Appalachian Mountains and even a 10 thousand foot tall mountain in Yellowstone National Park.
According to the National Weather Service (NWS), a tornado of EF-1 intensity caused damage to homes and uprooted trees in Star Valley, Arizona on Sunday.
On Sunday, a survey team from the NWS Flagstaff office went to Star Valley and confirmed that the damage caused was in line with winds ranging from 59-105 mph. The tornado left a trail approximately 100 yards wide, spanning 1.4 miles.
Our survey team has returned from the field and determined that damage near the Star Valley, AZ, area was consistent with that of an EF-1 tornado. Estimated peak winds ranged between 95 and 105 mph. Damage information is subject to change pending additional data. #azwx pic.twitter.com/plMIwS90db
— NWS Flagstaff (@NWSFlagstaff) November 20, 2023
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Based on the weather radar data analyzed by the Storm Prediction Center, it was confirmed that a tornado had hit the area. As per the reports by NWS, around 20 buildings were affected with damage to their roofs and windows. While the initial reports from local authorities stated that there were no casualties, a source later disclosed that a dog had lost its life due to the strong winds.
According to the video, locals have also witnessed numerous trees that have fallen down.
This week, Thanksgiving travel plans across the United States could be disrupted due to the strengthening storm system that caused the recent severe weather in Arizona.