National Weather Service Issues ‘Fire Tornado’ Warning in Perfectly Fitting 2020 Moment

Fire Tornado

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Did you have firenado on your 2020 apocalypse bingo card? Because apparently that’s a thing, thanks to the bizarre year that is 2020. The National Weather Service’s Reno division actually issued a warning about fire tornadoes on August 15, and it was more than a little bit insane.

Did you have #firenado on your apocalypse bingo card? Because 2020 has now brought us a Fire Tornado Weather Warning. Share on X

At the time this article was published, you could still look back and see the fire tornado discussion here reviewing what happened.  Since that webpage won’t last forever, we archived it for you here. You can see a screenshot below.

National Weather Service
National Weather Service

Yes, you read that correctly. The forecast from 4 p.m. on Saturday, August 15 read:

The Loyalton Fire to the east of the Sierra Valley exploded most impressively this afternoon, with a very large pyrocumulus and  reports of fire tornadoes. Due to the possibility of very strong fire-generated winds and extreme fire behavior with danger to fire personnel, a tornado warning was issued to heighten awareness in the area of the fire (rural northeastern Sierra County and extreme southern Lassen County).

So yes, the National Weather Service based in Reno issued a tornado warning on Saturday afternoon — but the warning was specifically for fire tornados. Carson Now reported that “pyrocumulus vortex” basically means fire whirls.

This tornado warning covered parts of Nevada and parts of California. WLWT reported that the warning specifically read:

A pyrocumulonimbus from the Loyalton Wildfire is capable of producing a fire induced tornado and outflow winds in excess of 60 mph was located south of Chilcoot, and is nearly stationary.”

Here’s the actual warning that was issued.

National Weather Service

Matthew Cappucci, meteorologist for The Washington Post, didn’t hold back when talking about just how historic this warning was. He said: “For the first time in history, a tornado warning has been issued for a likely *fire tornado*. These are not ‘firewhirls.’ This is a rotating smoke plume being ingested into a pyrocumulonimbus cloud that could produce a bonafide fire-induced tornado. Tornadic wind speeds.”

Here’s a very special tweet from NWS Reno.

Oh, but the possibility of more fire tornados continued into the evening.

Want to see the fire tornado?

All by itself, the Loyalton Fire is pretty terrifying.

But the fire tornado just kicked everything up a notch.

This comment on Reddit seems perfectly fitting for that insane firenado moment.

And this one too.

By the way, this isn’t even the first firenado of the week. There was another one spotted in California on August 12 associated with the Lake Fire.

You can follow the latest updates about the fire itself on Inciweb here.

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    Stephanie Dwilson started Post Apocalyptic Media with her husband Derek. She's a licensed attorney and has a master's in science and technology journalism. You can reach her at [email protected].

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