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The Tornado Outbreak of May 31, 1985

 

Below is the original Storm Data publication regarding this outbreak in Adobe Acrobat Format (pdf). Click on the link below to open the document.

Storm Data -- May 1985

 

Actual NWS Warning Text from Northwest Pennsylvania on May 31, 1985

First Tornado Warning of the day by NWS WSO Erie, PA.

Here is the Erie, PA WSR-74C Weather Radar Overlay Image just before this warning was issued. Before the NWS WSR 88-D Doppler Radar, radar operators hand drew the radar echos on overlay maps. This is one of those overlays from May 31, 1985. The tornado in question, circled in red is the first Albion tornado (Rated F4).

BULLETIN ACTIVATE EBS
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE ERIE PA
513 PM EDT FRI MAY 31 1985 EXPIRES 530 PM

COUNTIES AFFECTED PA ERIE

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN ERIE HAS ISSUED A TORNADO WARNING UNTIL
530 PM FOR THESE COUNTIES IN NORTHWESTERN PENNSYLVANIA...SOUTHERN ERIE
A TORNADO WAS SIGHTED BY STATE POLICE NEAR PENNSIDE...SOUTH OF ALBION
IN ERIE COUNTY AT 505 PM...MOVING TOWARD THE NORTHEAST AT 30 MILES AN
HOUR.

Here is the Erie, PA WSR-74C Weather Radar Overlay Image just before this warning was issued. Notice the three "hook echoes" drawn on the overlay. A hook echo suggests a mesocyclonic, and perhaps a tornadic, circulation. These three hook echoes correspond to each tornado in the warning below. The large F4 tornado which affected the town of Atlantic is located in far southern Crawford PA County.

BULLETIN ACTIVATE EBS
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE ERIE PA
545 PM EDT FRI MAY 31 1985 EXPIRES 630 PM MAY 31 1985

COUNTIES AFFECTED PA ERIE AND CRAWFORD

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN ERIE HAS ISSUED A TORNADO WARNING UNTIL
630 PM FOR THESE COUNTIES IN NORTHWESTERN PENNSYLVANIA ERIE AND
CRAWFORD. ERIE RADAR SHOWS 3 TORNADOS ON THE GROUND ONE NORTHEAST
OF WATERFORD ANOTHER NEAR CAMBRIDGE SPRINGS AND ANOTHER SOUTHWEST
OF MEADVILLE. THEY ARE ALL MOVING TO THE NORTHEAST AT NEAR 35 MPH.

Here is the Erie, PA WSR-74C Weather Radar Overlay Image just after this warning was issued. Notice there are FOUR "hook echoes" within range of the radar.

BULLETIN ACTIVATE EBS
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE ERIE PA
620 PM EDT FRI MAY 31 1985 EXPIRES 700 PM MAY 31 1985

COUNTIES AFFECTED PA ERIE AND CRAWFORD

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN ERIE HAS ISSUED A TORNADO WARNING UNTIL
700 PM FOR THESE COUNTIES IN NORTHWESTERN PENNSYLVANIA SOUTHERN
ERIE AND NORTHERN CRAWFORD. AT 620 PM ERIE WEATHER RADAR SHOWS NEW
TORNADOS ON THE GROUND WEST OF ALBION AND CONNEAUTVILLE PENNA. MOVING
TOWARDS THE EAST AT 35 MPH. ANOTHER TORNADO SOUTH OF SPARTANSBURG MOVING INTO WARREN COUNTY AND ONE NORTH OF OIL CITY MOVING INTO NORTHERN FOREST COUNTY.

 

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Page Last Modified -- May 31, 2005