Tornado Warning in Grand Canyon

FIRST PERSON | Reports from Camper Village, Tusayan, Ariz., state that the National Weather Service just issued a rare tornado warning for the South Rim area of the Grand Canyon. This is the first reported observation of a tornado (confirmed by the National Weather Service) at the Grand Canyon, South Rim, according to local witness Cheryl Strobeck, who was at Camper Village in Tusayan at the time. The incident triggered some heart-racing moments, but fortunately not much else. The tornado reportedly passed seven (7) miles from Tusayan around 3:04 p.m. MST Monday.

Such weather events are rare, however, for Arizona. From just south of the area, the author of this article was personally able to see the “wall cloud” which spawned this event: This was a classic wall cloud, right out of a scene from the Midwest.

The weather event is being spawned by an upper level low pressure center over Northern Arizona supplied by a decent monsoonal moisture flow from the southwest. With quickly cooling temperatures at nearly 7,000 feet elevation, we see rather odd things here in Northern Arizona at times.

Last October we felt as though we were residents of the tornado-swept Midwest. Four tornadoes caused surprising destruction through Bellemont, Ariz., closing a newly-opened RV dealership, damaging homes, toppling semi-trucks, and bowling-over a freight train.

It seems that this second year in a row of exciting weather is no exception. While the danger has passed and there are no clear reports of damage or injury (at least at this writing), we residents of Northern Arizona are ever-aware of the risk of severe weather.

The photos of the “wall cloud” were taken on my property, and the “cloud” caught my meteorological eye immediately.

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