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High altitude tornado confirmed in Utah

June 19, 2022
June 19, 2022(whsv)
Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 11:42 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 22, 2022 at 2:28 PM EDT
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INDIAN CANYON, UT. (WHSV) - A rare high altitude tornado has been confirmed by the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City, UT. The storm happened on Sunday morning, June 19, 2022.

Utah
Utah(NWS)

The location, Indian Canyon, which is southeast of Salt Lake City.

The elevation of the tornado as it started, an incredible 9,200′. The National Weather Service reports that the tornado started near a mountain summit, moved over a ridgeline and into a valley along Indian Canyon.

The tornado descended from the starting elevation of 9,200′ to about 8,500′ close to a creek.

The NWS notes that the winds increased as the tornado took this path as it went down in elevation. What we know about tornado research in the last 2 decades is that a tornado can intensify traveling down a mountain (or terrain), and can typically weaken traveling up terrain.

So the fact that this tornado intensified as it went down the mountain makes sense. This is called vortex stretching. In fact the tornado quickly intensified leading to significant tree damage.

You can see the trees down in a circular or convergent path.
You can see the trees down in a circular or convergent path.(NWS)

The tree damage in the photo above is a clear sign of a tornado. You can see how the trees criss cross, there’s not a clear cut straight pattern.

We call this convergent or even chaotic. When trees fall like this, that means it is from a tornado and not straight-line winds.

The path was 2 miles long and the width was nearly 900 yards wide.

This rare high altitude tornado was rated an EF-2 with winds of 125mph. This happened around 9:00 a.m on Fathers Day, and a nearby weather station recorded a gust of 62mph.

Now this did happen in a remote area so thankfully no one was injured.

Tree damage
Tree damage(NWS)

Highest Altitude Tornadoes

These are the highest altitude tornadoes on record in the United States. At 9,200′ the Utah tornado doesn’t crack the top 5 but it is close.

The top 5 highest altitude tornadoes on record.
The top 5 highest altitude tornadoes on record.(whsv)

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