Tornado: Close Call

Severe thunderstorms with hail, torrential rain, and flooding passed through the lower Susquehanna valley this evening.  The National Weather Service in State College issued a warning for a radar-indicated tornado shown crossing the Susquehanna River downstream of Conewago Falls at 6:55 P.M. E.D.T.  The rascal revealed itself about ten minutes later.

At 7:05 P.M. E.D.T., this tornado descended to within 500 to 1000 feet of ground level six miles east of Conewago Falls above Elizabethtown in Lancaster County.  There was strong rotation in the warm updraft (seen above the red house) and a short-lived cool downdraft descending toward the ground (dark cloud mass above the tan-colored house).  Fortunately, prior to getting wrapped up tight, the consolidating vortex dissipated and the clouds retreated skyward while the storm continued to the east.

The staff at a retirement community west of Elizabethtown was on the alert and had the fortitude to quickly sound a warning siren.  It was howling away as this image was taken.  What could have been a disaster was instead a spectacular close call.