Landspout tornado surfaces above the Tri-Cities

Tri-Cities
Image courtesy of Doug Doss

RICHLAND, Wash. — A small tornado-like weather phenomenon called a landspout formed over the Tri-Cities on this windy and rainy Thursday afternoon.

Technically, a landspout isn’t your typical tornado. The spinning motion formulates from the ground unlike a traditional mesocyclone, which stems from a rotating updraft. This wouldn’t be the first landspout to touch down in the Tri-Cities — Last year, we captured a similar phenomenon on March 31, 2020.

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Just like last year, The National Weather Service’s (NWS) Pendleton site confirmed the presence of the landspout in the region. According to their radar analysis and reporting, the landspout occurred around 3:40 p.m. on Thursday afternoon.

The phrase “landspout” was coined by a meteorologist named Howard B. Bluestein in 1985. It was given its name for similarities between it and a waterspout, which is a rotating column of water and spray formed by a whirlwind.

There have not been any indications of major damage caused by the landspout up to this point.

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