Scary cloud formation in Murfreesboro last week explained

Courtesy: Monique Kiggens

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) –  A week ago Wednesday, many residents of Murfreesboro were understandably concerned when they saw what looked like a tornado in the northern parts of town.

As you can see from the pictures, it was well documented by our iReport2 Network viewers.

On radar at the time, there was a “gust front” that had been produced by several thunderstorms moving in from the northwest. That’s the blue line you see on the radar picture below.

8-19 Murfreesboro Combo
Courtesy: iReport2

The definition of a gust front is the leading edge of gusty surface winds from thunderstorm downdrafts sometimes associated with a shelf cloud or roll cloud.

The gust front is not where you would normally find a tornado.

And indeed, looking at wind data from NEXRAD Doppler Radar, there were no well defined signs of any rotation. In addition, there was no damage in last week’s incident.

Our good friends at the National Weather Service in Nashville were nice enough to provide their opinions on what we see in the pictures.

Radar showing gust front pushing into northern parts of Murfreesboro
Radar showing gust front pushing into northern parts of Murfreesboro

Warning Coordinator Meteorologist Krissy Hurley, Science And Operations Officer Angela Lese, & Lead Forecaster Sam Shamburger, all agree that although it looks quite scary, it is more likely a low hanging shelf cloud and scud cloud associated with the gust front.

There are occasions (somewhat rare) when a “gust-nado” occurs as an “eddy” of the wind gusts.

These however, are not connected to any cloud base rotation and are more like “dust devils”. This does not appear to be the case.

One thing you can say about weather is that it will never cease to amaze you!

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