New Taipei City, Taiwan tornado

In the meantime, my attention has been drawn to a widely-photographed tornado on May 12th near Taipei, Taiwan.

It is not often that you see a tornado in a densely-populated city (simply because cities cover such a small portion of the Earth’s surface), and can use surrounding buildings to gauge the size of the condensation funnel. The tornado appears to touch down in a park between the viewer and some multi-story apartment buildings that I estimate are about a mile away. The rapidly-rotating cloud base is about twice as high above the ground as the tops of the apartment buildings. One media report says that the visible funnel is only 20 stories, or about 50 m, tall, even though the rotating portion of the storm clearly extends much higher. According to the accounts I have read, no deaths or injuries resulted from this tornado, and the only reported damage was to a van.

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