Thu, 23 May 2013 20:30:09 GMT — The conditions were right for a tornado in southern Oswego County on Wednesday. That's according to a meteorologist who has seen supercells capable of producing tornadoes form firsthand in the nation's heartland.Dr. Scott Steiger, Associate Professor of Meteorology at SUNY Oswego, says what he saw Wednesday afternoon from I-481 near Phoenix, was the closest thing he's seen to the supercells that sweep through the midwest."It was just like the Plains," Steiger says. He witnessed a rotating wall cloud when he set off to follow the storms that rolled through parts of our viewing area Wednesday.He says he saw the wall cloud between 4:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. The screen shot of the radar in the pictures above was taken at the same time.Steiger says the cloud was rotating for about 20 minutes. He called it in to the National Weather Service, and says he is shocked a tornado warning was not issued. Doppler radar images also indicated rotation."All signs were there for a tornado touchdown," he says. "This was a classic supercell."While there was no significant damage from the storm, it did produce minor wind damage and hail.Next Tuesday, Steiger is taking 16 of his junior and senior meteorology students to the midwest to study storms first hand.They will pack two SUNY Oswego vans with radar and GPS tracking systems, and spend two weeks chasing storms, searching for developing tornadoes. They will analyze weather maps to see where conditions will be favorable for development.In the evening, they will compare their findings with professional forecasters in the area.Dr. Steiger, who's led student research trips for 10 years, says the experience will be safe. The team hopes to leave five miles between the students and the tornadoes.You can follow their progress on Facebook.com/OswegoChasers.The first picture of the rotating cloud seen above was taken by Steiger's student Daniela Pirraglia who was out chasing Wednesday's storm separately from Dr. Steiger.
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