The skies turned that delightful murky green, and the rain came down in vertical sheets, with pebble size hail. Rolling thunder nearly continuous.
So yeah, I'm diggin' on the heavy weather up here. Then we get the quiet that's far scarier than all the noise.
We're listening to the weather net on the ham radio. A person calls in that he's looking at a wall cloud (these are the predecessors of trailing tornadoes) with rotating funnel activity. This is about 15 miles north of us. He's watching the funnel slowly lowering and asks that the sirens be set off for a tornado watch. The person running the net says that the weather service has not issued a tornado watch, only a severe thunderstorm warning. The protocol is to wait for the watch to be issued and see if the winds are greater than 70 mph. The weather spotter pushes and the set the sirens off. I'm talking with legi0n
via GAIM and I told him that they saw the rotation at 7:37:18 pm. They agree to set the sirens off at 7:38:23 pm. At 7:40:26 the funnel became a tornado.
So if this isn't a perfect example of why we need spotters, I can't think of another. The national weather service is not issuing a tornado warning because their conditions aren't being met. But the spotter was able to confirm seeing it touch the ground and estimated the wind. Without the spotter, there would have been no audible warning sounded for the people in that area.
They just reported a car in the median, the driver saying the wind swept him off the road.