Idaho, while no stranger to rain, snow, and ice, is not familiar territory when it comes to tornadoes and supercell thunderstorms. The atmospheric dynamics do not usually favor severe weather in this part of the country. But on Saturday afternoon, things were very different. A cold front was slicing through unstable air, and all of the necessary ingredients, (moisture, lift, and wind shear), were in place to produce a funnel cloud, and possible tornado. It was an extremely rare event, and one that was captured on camera and video.
Check out some of the amazing images and video below:
There was also substantial hail. Some of the hail near Ammon, Idaho was near golf ball size. It was certainly large enough to do damage to cars, windows, and possibly roofs.
The hail in Shelley, Idaho was larger than a quarter, shown in the picture below. Quarter-sized hail, and larger, is considered damaging hail. They certainly had that in Shelley on Saturday afternoon.
And the winds were substantial too. Look at the damage on the siding of a home in Idaho Falls, ID. Flying debris became dangerous projectiles in the high winds of the storm.
While there was certainly a funnel cloud, to be considered an official tornado, a touch-down with the ground must be confirmed by the National Weather Service. At the time of this article, the NWS Office in Pocatello has not issued an official storm report. So for now, we will term this event as a sighted funnel cloud, with possible tornado touch-down. It was truly a unique and rarely seen weather event in southern Idaho. Mother Nature always knows how to keep things interesting!
For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Matt Monroe