SOME TORNADOES, WATERSPOUTS, AND OTHER FUNNEL CLOUDS OF HAWAII

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  • 1 U.S. Weather Bureau, Honolulu, Hawaii
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Abstract

During the 12 years 1949 through 1960, funnel clouds were observed over or near the Hawaiian Islands on 31 days. About half of these occurrences were waterspouts, but most of the other funnels remained aloft. Although none of the funnel clouds which reached or occurred over land during this period, or previously, appears to have attained the intensity or destructiveness of the major tornadoes of the continental United States, a number of them did minor damage.

The climatology and synoptic concomitants of funnel clouds in Hawaii are compared with those of similar events elsewhere, and the associated air mass properties illustrated by several proximity soundings.

Among the questions considered is whether the Hawaiian Islands serve merely as a vantage point from which to observe funnel clouds occurring over the nearby open seas, or whether through topography or otherwise they contribute to their formation. A close study of the pertinent circumstances suggests that while certain of the funnels may with some confidence be ascribed primarily to local or to synoptic effects, most of them appear to have involved the interaction of both.

Abstract

During the 12 years 1949 through 1960, funnel clouds were observed over or near the Hawaiian Islands on 31 days. About half of these occurrences were waterspouts, but most of the other funnels remained aloft. Although none of the funnel clouds which reached or occurred over land during this period, or previously, appears to have attained the intensity or destructiveness of the major tornadoes of the continental United States, a number of them did minor damage.

The climatology and synoptic concomitants of funnel clouds in Hawaii are compared with those of similar events elsewhere, and the associated air mass properties illustrated by several proximity soundings.

Among the questions considered is whether the Hawaiian Islands serve merely as a vantage point from which to observe funnel clouds occurring over the nearby open seas, or whether through topography or otherwise they contribute to their formation. A close study of the pertinent circumstances suggests that while certain of the funnels may with some confidence be ascribed primarily to local or to synoptic effects, most of them appear to have involved the interaction of both.

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