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. Click To Tweet
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.
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.
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.”
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. pic.twitter.com/KwtAMv3qVp
— Matthew Cappucci (@MatthewCappucci) August 15, 2020
Here’s a very special tweet from NWS Reno.
Extremely dangerous fire behavior noted on the #LoyaltonFire! Rotating columns and potential for fire whirls. Responders should exercise extreme caution!!! https://t.co/DYghar7yiz
— NWS Reno (@NWSReno) August 15, 2020
Oh, but the possibility of more fire tornados continued into the evening.
The tornadic pyrocumulus has weakened & the immediate threat of tornadic activity has decreased for the #LoyaltonFire. Extreme fire behavior will continue into this evening w/new Fire Tornadoes & strong gusts in excess of 60 mph remain possible. Stay away from the fire area.
— NWS Reno (@NWSReno) August 15, 2020
Want to see the fire tornado?
Pretty impressive rotation on this pyrocumulus from the #LoyaltonFire #CAwx. More to come pic.twitter.com/XtThgraFLZ
— Cat Sink (@Nousernamelefts) August 16, 2020
Tornado created by the #LoyaltonFire captured by @v3katelynn as we traveled south on 395. @NWSReno @KTNV #fire #wildfire #tornado pic.twitter.com/zUPVY6Bd6s
— Jordan (@nevada_traveler) August 16, 2020
All by itself, the Loyalton Fire is pretty terrifying.
#LoyaltonFire from Cold Springs, NV pic.twitter.com/6DbdrNRQOu
— Billy Tiehm (@NVWolfster) August 16, 2020
But the fire tornado just kicked everything up a notch.
Here’s some photos and videos from the fires and even a tornado in Loyalton, CA #LoyaltonFire #LoyaltonTornado #Loyalton pic.twitter.com/590F7cdav8
— Dylyn 🤷🏼♂️ (@DylynW) August 16, 2020
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.
Fire tornado. Insane winds just picked up. Mass evacuations everyone is getting out of here. #LakeFire @FOXLA pic.twitter.com/WNTsqePd5t
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) August 13, 2020
You can follow the latest updates about the fire itself on Inciweb here.
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