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Meteorology (Weather)/Weather phenomenon


Thanks for this opportunity to ask a question. Nearly two years ago I witnessed a phenomenon of weather that I think I understand but would like to be sure and would love to know what to call it if there is a name.

I live in the Catskill Mountains of New York, more particularly in what we in the northeast call a hollow but what in the west would be called a boxed canyon. The hollow is about a mile and a half long and maybe three tenths of a mile wide. There are mountains on either side of the long sides and one end is also boxed in with mountains and there is a stream that runs through it long wise.

It was two days before tropical storm Irene came to town and the weather was already unsettled. It was late afternoon and a fairly sever thunderstorm had just passed through. There were all sorts of clouds in the sky. Down low, along the stream corridor, there was a very dense layer of mist that extended probably a couple hundred yards wide of the stream and as far as I could see was along the entire length of the stream.

I was just sky watching because there was so much going on when I saw a small plume of the mist begin to rise up from the horizontal column along the stream. At first I would say it was no more that six feet around. It rose straight up rather rapidly and as it went it started pulling more and more of the column of mist up with it. As it rose up to nearly the height of breaking clouds it began to twist, slowly at first, but it picked up speed quickly, kind of the reverse of water going down a toilet.

At its culmination Iíd say it looked a bit like an upside down hydrogen bomb cloud as it pulled more and more of the mist up in the air. Start to finish it took about ten minutes for that entire dense column of mist to get sucked up into the sky and disappear.

It was quite a thing to witness and it bothers me that I donít know what to call it. Iím guessing differing pressure layers were at work but would love a more thorough explanation.

Again, Thanks for your time.

Hi Colin

You were probably observing a "pool devil":  

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Donald Rosenfeld


Any questions (except private) answered from the 1st grade level on up pertaining to any aspect of Weather. I am a 20 year member of the American Meteorological society and a long time forecaster of eastern United States snow storms and Hurricanes.

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