Tornadoes strike Liberty and Moore,
South Carolina, and near Gastonia,
North Carolina, on 5 January 2007
Patrick D. Moore
NOAA/National Weather Service
Vehicles damaged by the tornado that struck Liberty, South Carolina,
on 5 January 2007. Image courtesy of and copywright by The Pickens
Sentinel, used by permission.
Author's Note: The following report has not been subjected to the scientific peer review process.
A line of strong to severe thunderstorms produced at least three
confirmed tornadoes, and several more reports of damaging wind gusts,
across upstate South Carolina and the Charlotte metro area during the
afternoon of Friday, 5 January 2007. The National Weather Service
Office in Greer, South Carolina (GSP), issued five tornado warnings
and 14 severe thunderstorm warnings between noon and 6:00 pm on that
day. The first tornado touched down briefly at 2:24 pm (1924 UTC) in
Liberty, South Carolina, on the campus of Liberty Elementary School,
tossing about several vehicles in the parking lot waiting for afternoon
dismissal. The second tornado struck an area northwest of Moore, South
Carolina, around 3:10 pm (2010 UTC), destroying two sheds, damaging
the roof of a mobile home, and snapping several large pine trees.
The third tornado touched down briefly at 4:45 pm (2145 UTC) near
Gastonia, North Carolina, damaging several roofs in the Autumn Acres
subdivision. [All times in this document from this point onward are
referred to in Universal Time Coordinated (UTC), which is Eastern
Standard Time plus five hours.] The Liberty Tornado was rated F1,
while the Moore Tornado and the Gastonia Tornado were rated F0 on
the Fujita Scale.
(Click here to view a summary of severe weather reports for
5 January 2007.)
Figure 1. Wind damage, large hail, and tornado reports for
5 January 2007. Click on image to enlarge.
The meteorology leading up to the events on 5 January 2007 was well
understood and well anticipated by the GSP Weather Forecast Office and
the Storm Prediction Center (SPC). While the storm that produced the
Moore Tornado appeared to be a classic example of a "broken-S" type of
quasi-linear convective system (McAvoy et al. 2000), the storm that
produced the Liberty Tornado had more subtle features which made the
warning process particularly challenging. The Gastonia storm showed
few signs that a tornado was imminent, at least not according to our
current understanding of tornadogenesis in high shear and weak
2. Synoptic Features and Pre-Storm Environment
A dynamic closed upper low was located over the Mississippi Delta region
on the 500 mb analysis at 1200 UTC on 5 January (Fig. 2), and could also
be seen on the GOES-12 water vapor imagery. Although the upper low was
expected to open and deamplify during the day, strong forcing at mid-
levels was expected to continue with an 80-100 kt jet streak wrapping
around the forward edge of the short wave trough. Additional forcing
aloft was anticipated by midday with the arrival of the left exit region
of a jet streak at 300 mb, seen moving northward from the Gulf of Mexico
at 1200 UTC (Fig. 3). In fact, a linear convective system had already
developed by 1200 UTC across eastern Alabama in this strongly forced
Click here to view a 19 frame java loop of GOES-12 water vapor
Figure 2. SPC objective analysis of 500 mb geopotential height,
temperature, and wind at 1200 UTC 5 January. Click on image to
Figure 3. SPC objective analysis of 300 mb isotachs, streamlines,
and wind divergence at 1200 UTC 5 January. Click on image to enlarge.
A southerly low level jet of 40-45 kt at 850 mb (Fig 4) and winds of
35-40 kt at 925 mb across Georgia and the western Carolinas were
favorable for a continuation of organized severe thunderstorms. The
environment ahead of the squall line, as sampled by the upper air
sounding at Peachtree City, Georgia (FFC), at 1200 UTC (Fig. 5), was
characterized by strong deep layer shear on the order of 60 kt, surface
to 1 km shear of 30-35 kt, and surface to 1 km storm relative helicity
on the order of 200 m2/s2 were all favorable for the development of
tornadoes. In fact, the upper air sounding taken at Greensboro, North
Carolina (GSO), at 1200 UTC (Fig. 6) showed a surface to 3 km shear of
40 kt, which is known to be conducive to the formation of tornadoes in
quasi-linear convective systems. In spite of extensive low clouds,
daytime heating was expected to raise Convective Available Potential
Energy to around 800 J/kg ahead of the line. This measure of updraft
potential, combined with the strong shear, would be sufficient to
maintain the squall line as it moved east. For that reason, the SPC
placed the area roughly to the south of a line from Athens, Georgia,
to McCormick, South Carolina, to Wadesboro, North Carolina, in a Slight
Risk in the Day 1 Convective Outlook issued at 1229 UTC.
Figure 4. SPC objective analysis of 850 mb geopotential height,
temperature, dewpoint, and wind barbs at 1200 UTC 5 January. Click on
image to enlarge.
Figure 5. Skew-T log P diagram (upper left) and hodograph (upper right)
for upper air sounding at FFC at 1200 UTC 5 January. The tables at the
bottom summarize several objective parameters used by the SPC to determine
severe weather potential. Click on image to enlarge.
Figure 6. As in Figure 5, except at GSO. Click on image to enlarge.
At the surface, a cold front stretched along the Mississippi-Alabama
border (Fig. 7), with the air mass ahead of the squall line characterized
by temperatures in the middle to upper 60s with dewpoints in the lower
to middle 60s. Regional surface analyses at 1200 UTC and 1300 UTC
indicated the presence of a weak warm front lifting north across extreme
northeast Georgia and the western part of upstate South Carolina, with
dewpoints behind the front climbing into the lower 60s and surface winds
veering to the southeast (Fig. 8). It was quickly surmised that the
environment across the Lower Piedmont and the Lakelands would be at
least as favorable as that across the central Savannah River valley
and the Midlands of South Carolina. As as result, a Severe Weather
Outlook was issued at 1339 UTC for the area south of the North Carolina
border, mentioning the possibility of damaging wind gusts and the
potential for a brief, isolated tornado.
Figure 7. Hydrometeorological Prediction Center surface fronts and
pressure analysis at 1200 UTC 5 January. Click on image to enlarge.
Figure 8. Regional surface observations plots at 1200 UTC (left) and
1300 UTC (right), 5 January. Note how the winds veer at AND and GSP
and the increasing dewpoint at AND as the warm front passes between
1200 UTC and 1300 UTC. Click on images to enlarge.
The pre-storm environment was sufficient to re-intensify the northern
end of the squall line as it crossed the Atlanta metro area through the
middle part of the morning. The SPC adjusted the Slight Risk area
northward to include the area generally along and south of Interstate 85
on the updated Day 1 Convective Outlook issued at 1629 UTC. The Severe
Weather Outlook was updated at 1647 UTC to follow suit, and continued
to mention the potential for brief, isolated tornadoes. As the squall
line approached extreme northeast Georgia, the air mass to the south
of the North Carolina border was weakly unstable with a CAPE of
300-400 J/kg, but strongly sheared with surface to 1-km shear values
of 30-35 kt, as noted by a Mesoscale Discussion issued by the SPC at
1706 UTC. After coordination with the SPC, a Tornado Watch was issued
at 1740 UTC for most of northeast Georgia, upstate South Carolina, and
the Charlotte metro area. By that time, the leading edge of the squall
line was poised to enter the WFO GSP County Warning Area.
Click here to view a 16 frame java loop of the 0.5 degree
reflectivity mosaic centered on the KGSP radar.
3. Radar observations
The squall line (otherwise known as a quasi-linear convective system,
or QLCS for short) had a history of producing strong wind gusts as it
moved across north central Georgia, including a gust of 54 mph in
Gainesville (Hall County). The GSP Weather Forecast Office issued a
Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Rabun, Habersham, Stephens, and Franklin
counties in Georgia, and for Oconee County in South Carolina, at 1737 UTC
as the leading edge of the line was poised to move into Habersham
County (Fig. 9). Wind damage was reported across southern Habersham
County, Stephens County, and western Franklin County as the line of
thunderstorms passed. Additional damage was reported in western
Elbert County near Bowman.
Click here to view a 16 frame java loop of composite reflectivity
from the KGSP radar from 1734 UTC to 1839 UTC.
Figure 9. Radar reflectivity on 0.5 degree scan from the KGSP WSR88-D
radar at 1738 UTC. The radar is located at the upper right edge of the
image. Click on image to enlarge.
a. The Liberty Tornado
The leading edge of the QLCS stretched from central Oconee County
just west of Seneca, south across the extreme western tip of Anderson
County, to Hartwell, Georgia, at 1839 UTC (Fig. 10). A notch of lower
radar reflectivity developed in the rear flank of the QLCS near Fair
Play at a height of 4.5 km above ground level between 1839 UTC and
1843 UTC, seen on the 3.0 degree scan (Fig. 11). A relative maximum
in inbound radial velocity (i.e. toward the radar) of 50 knots or
greater was observed within the reflectivity notch. This indicated
the presence of a rear inflow jet. Over the next four minutes, a
similar low reflectivity notch developed at the back edge of the
QLCS on the 0.5 degree scan. This was seen as an indentation of lower
reflectivity at a height of approximately 1 km above ground level near
Townville (Fig. 12). By 1900 UTC, the notch was located along the
Pickens-Anderson county line to the south of Clemson (Fig. 13). The
radial velocity increased from at least 26 kt to greater than 36 kt,
indicative of strengthening rear-to-front flow. The appearance of
the notch on the 3.0 degree scan four to eight minutes prior to its
appearance at the lowest elevation scan strongly suggests a subsident
component to the rear-to-front flow in the storm.
Figure 10. Radar reflectivity on the 0.5 degree scan from the KGSP
radar at 1839 UTC. The radar is located in the upper right corner to
the right of the last 'e' in Greenville. Click on image to enlarge.
Figure 11. Radar reflectivity (top) and radial velocity (bottom)
on the 3.0 degree scan from the KGSP radar at 1843 UTC. Negative
values (green shades) indicate motion toward the radar and positive
values (red shades) indicate motion away from the radar. The arrow
points to the notch of lower reflectivity at the back edge of the
QLCS corresponding to higher inbound velocity near the town of
Fair Play (point FP). Note the red colors near the tip of the
arrow in the bottom figure represent velocities that have been
improperly dealiased. The actual velocity is a value greater than
50 kt toward the radar. Click on images to enlarge.
Figure 12. As in Fig. 10, except for 1847 UTC. The arrow denotes
the rear inflow notch. Click on image to enlarge.
Figure 13. Radar reflectivity (top) and radial velocity (bottom)
on the 0.5 degree scan from the KGSP radar at 1900 UTC. The arrow
points to the notch of lower reflectivity at the back edge of the
QLCS south of Clemson. Click on images to enlarge.
Between 1847 UTC and 1909 UTC, the southern (or leading) segment of
the QLCS accelerated east across Anderson County, leaving the
northern (or trailing) segment behind across southwestern Pickens
County (Fig. 14). This evolution was similar to other QLCSs in high
shear environments. However, in this case a clean break in the line
into southern (leading) and northern (trailing) segments was not
readily apparent, at least not at the resolution of the data and the
color table that was used. A channel of weak reflectivity began to
wrap cyclonically around the appendage of high reflectivity to the
east of Clemson at 1909 UTC, which was even more apparent at 1913 UTC
(Fig. 15). A weak low-level mesocyclone appeared to form by 1913 UTC
on the storm relative motion image as the rotational velocity at
0.5 degrees strengthened to 30 kt by this time. This was an increase
of about one-third over the previous scan. In a storm-relative sense,
convergence is implied from the southeast corner of the reflectivity
appendage, south along the back edge of the storm over Anderson
County. A Severe Thunderstorm Warning was issued for southern Pickens
County at 1915 UTC.
Figure 14. As in Fig. 10, except for 1909 UTC. The gray arrow
denotes the developing weak echo channel. White lines indicate
the leading and trailing segments of the quasi-linear convective
system. Click on image to enlarge.
Figure 15. Radar reflectivity (top) and storm relative motion
(bottom) on the 0.5 degree scan from the KGSP radar at 1913 UTC.
The arrow points to the channel of weak reflectivity. Click on
images to enlarge.
Some portion of the rear-to-front flow appeared to wrap completely
around the reflectivity appendage to the west-southwest of Liberty
by 1917 UTC, as evidenced by the development of an area of outbound
radial velocity (i.e. away from the radar) northeast of the
reflectivity appendage (Fig. 16). It is interesting to note the
developing outbound radial velocity appeared directly beneath a new
area of higher reflectivity aloft on the 1.8 degree scan, which
suggests either a developing updraft in the storm or a strongly tilted
one. The mesocyclone remained broad but cyclonically convergent on
the 0.5 degree scan. At this time, the rotational velocity on the
1.2 degree scan jumped by 50 percent over the previous scan (from
21 kt to 31 kt) and was also cyclonically convergent, suggestive of
an upward development of the mesocyclone (Fig. 17).
Click here to view a 14 frame java loop of 0.5 degree reflectivity
from the KGSP radar from 1847 UTC to 1943 UTC.
Click here to view a 14 frame java loop of 0.5 degree storm relative
motion from the KGSP radar from 1847 UTC to 1943 UTC.
Figure 16. Radar reflectivity on the 1.8 degree scan (upper left)
and the 0.5 degree scan (lower left), storm relative motion on the
0.5 degree scan (upper right), and radial velocity on the 0.5 degree
scan (lower right) from the KGSP radar at 1917 UTC. Click on
images to enlarge.
Figure 17. As in Figure 15, except for the 1.3 degree scan at
1917 UTC. Click on images to enlarge.
The mesocyclone reached its peak intensity at 1922 UTC in a purely
rotational sense at a height of 1.2 km above the ground (Fig. 18).
The mesocyclone continued to grow upward as suggested by a plot of
rotational velocity on the 0.5 degree, 1.2 degree, and 2.4 degree
scans (Fig. 19), and the WSR-88D mesocyclone algorithm. The distance
between the maximum outbound and inbound storm relative velocity was
nearly 3 nautical miles at a range of 24 nautical miles from the radar,
which is considered broad and weak by the mesocyclone nomogram.
Nevertheless, a tornado developed and touched down on the campus of
Liberty Elementary School at 1924 UTC, as reported by several
Figure 18. Storm relative motion on the 0.5 degree scan from the KGSP
radar at 1922 UTC. Click on image to enlarge.
Figure 19. Rotational velocity in the Liberty storm. Click on
image to enlarge.
The storm that produced the Liberty tornado moved quickly northeast
across the eastern part of Pickens County over the next 30 minutes.
The low level rotation in the mesocyclone showed signs of strengthening
as it passed to the north and northeast of Easley after 1939 UTC, but
by that time the storm was collapsing. No other reports of damage were
received along the storm's path.
b. The Moore Tornado
Shortly after the Liberty Tornado, the QLCS gained strength as it
moved across Greenville County. By 1947 UTC, a line of very high
reflectivity was oriented from north to south across southern
Greenville County (Fig. 20), moving rapidly to the east. The
evolution of the reflectivity pattern in the severe storm that
produced the tornado to the northwest of Moore exhibited a classic
"Broken-S" radar presentation as it moved into western Spartanburg
County. The "Broken-S" radar reflectivity signature has been linked
to the occurrence of non-supercell tornadoes in QLCSs in similar
environments over the western Carolinas in the past (Lane and Moore
2006, McAvoy et al. 2003).
Click here to view a 22 frame java loop of 0.5 degree reflectivity
from the KGSP radar from 1922 UTC to 2051 UTC.
Figure 20. Radar reflectivity on the 0.5 degree scan from the KGSP
radar at 1947 UTC. The radar is located near the center of the
image, just to the right of the e in Greenville. Click on image to
An examination of the reflectivity on the 1.2 degree scan from the
KGSP WSR-88D radar (approximately 300 to 500 meters above ground level
at that range) revealed a break in the line segment between 2000 UTC
and 2008 UTC (Fig. 21). The line segment showed broad curvature in
the form of an S in the high reflectivity (35 dBZ and greater) over
western Spartanburg County at 2000 UTC, which wrapped tighter to the
west of Moore by 2004 UTC. A fracture in the high reflectivity line
segment occurred over the area to the northwest of Moore and west of
Roebuck at 2008 UTC, just two minutes before the tornado touched down.
The fracture appeared as a north to south oriented minimum in
reflectivity (30 dBZ and less) west of Moore (Fig. 21, bottom).
A short loop of the 1.2 degree reflectivity shows the break in
the line segment to the west of Moore.
Figure 21. Radar reflectivity on the 1.2 degree scan from the KGSP
WSR-88D at 2000 UTC (top), 2004 UTC (middle), and 2008 UTC (bottom),
on 5 January. The point labeled KGSP is the location of the radar
and the point labeled T is the approximate location of the tornado
damage. Click on images to enlarge.
The radial velocity showed the rapid development of the mesocyclone
associated with the Moore Tornado between 2000 UTC and 2008 UTC (Fig. 22).
The rotation in the developing mesocyclone can be inferred from the
couplet of inbound velocity (green shades) and outbound velocity (red
shades) to the west of Moore at 2000 UTC. The couplet strengthened
through 2004 UTC, to the point where the maximum inbound velocity was
on the order of 20 kt and the maximum outbound velocity was greater
than 64 kt to the northwest of Moore at 2008 UTC. The storm relative
velocity showed the rotational couplet with even greater clarity at
2008 UTC (Fig. 23). Interpretation of these images allowed the warning
forecaster to issue a Tornado Warning before the tornado touched
down northwest of Moore.
A short loop of the 1.2 degree radial velocity shows the development
of the rotational couplet associated with the mesocyclone to the west
Figure 22. Radial velocity on the 1.2 degree scan from the KGSP
WSR-88D at 2000 UTC (top), 2004 UTC (middle), and 2008 UTC (bottom),
on 5 January. Targets moving toward the radar are indicated by
green shades and targets moving away from the radar are shown by
red shades. The point T is the approximate location of the
tornado damage. Click on images to enlarge.
Figure 23. Storm relative motion on the 1.2 degree scan from the
KGSP radar at 2008 UTC. Click on image to enlarge.
Shortly after the Moore Tornado lifted, the severe thunderstorm produced
a microburst near the town of Roebuck at 2015 UTC. Several trees were
uprooted and snapped. A few trees fell across roadways and on top of
at least one house. Reports of funnel clouds were received as the storm
tracked over eastern Spartanburg County and into Cherokee County, but
apparently no other damage occurred.
c. The Gastonia Tornado
The QLCS crossed the line between Cherokee County and York County,
South Carolina, around 2100 UTC. A fracture in the convective line
occurred over northwestern York County between 2108 UTC and 2112 UTC,
prompting the issuance of a Tornado Warning. A second-hand report of
a tornado was received from the area near Clover, South Carolina, but
the report has not been substantiated.
The system continued to move east northeast as two distinct segments
over the next half hour. The southern (or leading) segment moved
along the North and South Carolina line and the northern (or trailing)
segment moved over Gaston County, North Carolina. As the system moved
past Gastonia between 2129 UTC and 2138 UTC, the two segments became
more separated as lower reflectivity moved around the southern end
of the trailing line segment to the southeast of Gastonia. The KGSP
radar showed the trailing segment of the QLCS extending to the south
of Gastonia at 2133 UTC, but only weak rotation was seen in the storm
relative motion on the lowest elevation scan (Fig. 24). However, it
should be noted that the center point of the radar beam was 1.6 km
above ground level in the vicinity of Gastonia. This put the KGSP
radar at a disadvantage when attempting to detect low level features.
The radar signatures associated with the Liberty Tornado were confined
to levels below 1.5 km. This suggested the KGSP radar was too far
away from the storm to be able to detect the important low level
features that were associated with a developing tornado.
Click here to view a 16 frame java loop of 0.5 degree reflectivity
from the KGSP radar from 2055 UTC to 2159 UTC.
Figure 24. Reflectivity and radial velocity on the 0.5 degree
scan from the KGSP radar at 2133 UTC. Click on images to enlarge.
This was not the case with the Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR)
located north of the Charlotte - Douglas International Airport.
Whereas the KGSP radar was located about 100 km to the west of the
QLCS, the Charlotte TDWR (TCLT radar) was only 30 km distant. The
favorable location and the smaller beamwidth of the TCLT radar allowed
for a more detailed view of the storm. A comparison between the 0.5
degree scan from the KGSP radar (beam center point about 1700 m AGL)
with the 2.4 degree scan from the TCLT radar (beam center point about
1200 m AGL) at 2134 UTC showed the difference in resolution (Fig. 25).
Note the appearance of the channel of lower reflectivity that extended
to the north of the Gastonia airport (KAKH) on the TCLT scan. The
poorer resolution of the KGSP radar at that distance smeared out the
appearance of the low reflectivity channel.
Figure 25. Radar reflectivity from the KGSP radar on the 0.5 degree
scan at 2133 UTC (top) and from the TCLT radar on the 2.4 degree scan
at 2134 UTC (bottom). The location of TCLT is shown in the upper
right. Click on images to enlarge.
The favorable location of the TCLT radar allowed it to see more of the
low level structure of the QLCS as well. A loop of the 1.0 degree
reflectivity from TCLT showed the initial break in the QLCS over
northwestern York County, South Carolina. By 2133 UTC, the QLCS had
evolved to where the break in the two segments was well defined, with
a channel of weak reflectivity having wrapped around the southern end
of the northern (or trailing) segment (Fig. 26). The only significant
rotation observed by the TCLT radar prior to the tornado occurred on
the 1.0 degree scan at this time. It is interesting to note that the
rotational couplet was not even directly associated with the southern
end of the trailing reflectivity segment, but was embedded within a
notch in the rear flank of the southern (or leading) reflectivity
mass. The 0.2 degree scans from TCLT were even more revealing.
Between 2130 UTC and 2135 UTC, a small mass of reflectivity peeled
away from the rear flank of the larger reflectivity mass over the
southeast corner of Gaston County. This smaller mass moved on a
more northeasterly track and merged with the trailing reflectivity
segment to the east of Gastonia around 2139 UTC. The tornado touched
down at approximately 2141 UTC about four miles east of Gastonia.
The tornado appeared to be associated with the southern end of the
trailing line segment (Fig. 27), but the storm relative motion was
contaminated with improperly dealiased velocities.
Click here to view a 17 frame java loop of 0.2 degree reflectivity
from the TCLT radar from 2128 UTC to 2144 UTC.
Figure 26. Radar reflectivity (top) and storm relative motion (bottom)
from the TCLT radar on the 1.0 degree scan at 2134 UTC. The location
of TCLT is shown in the upper right. Click on images to enlarge.
Figure 27. As in Figure 26, except for 2140 UTC. The approximate
location of the Autumn Acres subdivision, where the tornado struck,
is shown by point A. Click on images to enlarge.
Both radars showed a low reflectivity notch in the rear flank of
the QLCS as it moved into York County, South Carolina. However,
the radial velocity data from KGSP did not show higher wind speeds
associated with the notch and the data from TCLT was contaminated
by range folding. The QLCS fracture occurred about 30 minutes before
the tornado touched down, similar to the Bessemer City storm nearly a
year ago to the day. The KGSP radar gave little indication that a
tornado was imminent on the 2138 UTC scan, with broad and weak
rotation indistinguishable from other parts of the scan. Although
the TCLT radar was much closer, and therefore able to see the low
level features in the storm, it also gave little indication that a
tornado was imminent on the scans leading up to tornado formation.
Only one elevation scan in the 2134 UTC volume indicated significant
rotation. The role played by the weak cell merger in the minutes
prior to tornado formation is unknown. The parent storm weakened
rapidly through 2200 UTC and no additional severe weather was
4. Discussion and Summary
The forecasters at GSP had a relatively high degree of situational
awareness leading up to the event and expected a few tornadoes as
the squall line moved across the Upstate and Piedmont. However,
that knowledge did not make the warning process any less challenging.
With the benefit of hindsight, an examination of the radar data
yields several subtle clues in the minutes leading up to each
tornado. What is not known is the relative significance of any of
the subtle radar signatures, or if similar signatures could be
detected in any of the storms that did not produce a tornado on
this day. The fact that hindsight magnifies the apparent importance
of any radar clues should not be lost by the casual reader.
In the case of the Liberty Tornado, confidence was not high that
a tornado was about to form. The QLCS did not exhibit the distinct
break in the line that forecasters have observed in other cases.
While some rotation was noted in the storm at low levels, it was
thought to be too broad and too weak to be indicative of an
impending tornado. This suggests that the threshold for issuing
tornado warnings based on low level rotation might need to be
lowered for similar high shear, low instability environments.
The radar observations of the descending rear inflow jet support
conclusions about low level vorticity generation drawn by earlier
modeling work on QLCSs. The detection of rear inflow jets in
similar systems warrants further study.
The Moore Tornado followed the classic radar evolution of a
tornado-producing QLCS in this type of environment. This allowed
the forecaster to issue an effective Tornado Warning. The close
proximity to the KGSP radar yielded a high quality data set, which
makes this case very valuable for future study.
As for the Gastonia Tornado, the radar signatures were the
most subtle and thus the least understood. The poor representation
on the KGSP radar suggests that early detection of important low-level
signatures might be nearly impossible at ranges beyond 100 km.
Fortunately, the TCLT radar greatly improves the capability to see
the low level structure of similar storms across the North Carolina
More images of damage produced by the Liberty Tornado. The concession
stand at the Liberty High School football field was ripped from its
mooring and overturned. Part of a fence was also knocked down.
Relatively little tree damage was noted owing to the location of the
very narrow and short tornado path. Click on images to enlarge.
More images of the damage produced by the Liberty Tornado in the parking
lot of Liberty Elementary School. Images are courtesy of the Pickens
Sentinel and are subject to copywright.
Damage to outbuildings and a barn caused by the Moore Tornado.
Damage to a home and a tree in the Autumn Acres subdivision east of
Gastonia, caused by the Gastonia Tornado. Click on image to enlarge.
Sandy Foster, editor of The Pickens Sentinel, provided the images of
the damaged vehicles in Liberty, South Carolina. The upper air
analysis and sounding graphics were obtained from the Storm
Prediction Center. The surface analysis graphic was obtained from
the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center. The regional surface plots,
satellite imagery, and radar mosaic images were obtained from the
University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. The images from
the KGSP radar were made using the Java NEXRAD Viewer from the
National Climatic Data Center.
Lane, J. D., and P. D. Moore, 2006: Observations of a non-supercell
tornadic thunderstorm from a Terminal Doppler Weather Radar.
Preprints, 23rd Conf. on Severe Local Storms, St. Louis, MO, Amer.
McAvoy, B. P., W. A. Jones, and P. D. Moore, 2000: Investigation of an
unusual storm structure associated with weak to occasionally strong
tornadoes over the Eastern United States. Preprints, 20th Conf. on
Severe Local Storms, Orlando, FL, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 182-185.