Tom Horne

Wind farm or tornado?

March 17, 2009 by Thomas A. Horne, Editor At Large

You gotta love this: I just read in the National Weather Association newsletter that wind farms are showing up on some Nexrad radars.

Wait, there’s more! It’s how they’re showing up that’s interesting. They make radar returns that look a lot like tornadic vortex signatures (TVSs). On radial velocity imagery, the wind farms appear like dense, adjoining red and green couplets. The red indicates motion away from the radar; green means motion toward the radar site. Put them close together and you’ve got a marker for rotation. As in, “we aren’t in Kansas any more.”

I’ll wager that word of this spreads fast. Hope everybody scoping out Nexrad during a preflight briefing gets the┬áchance to learn where these wind farms are…..

Don’t believe me? Go to:,1,Slide1┬áto see a Powerpoint slide in a NOAA presentation on the subject.

One Response to “Wind farm or tornado?”

  1. Mike McCann Says:

    I have been studying property value trends near wind farms, and found this article about radar effects to be interesting, as it also could be relevant to public health safety & welfare where these projects are sprouting up.

    Can anyone tell me if there are any documented safety concerns or failures, resulting from either false reports from weather or aviation related sources? (i.e. flights affected or false tornado warnings?)

    Mike McCann [email protected]

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