A tornado came for a town in Michoacán yesterday, ruining avocado crops and leaving many wondering, “what just happened?”
The tornado formed late Tuesday afternoon in western Michoacán. After passing through a rural area, residents attacked the tornado with hail cannons to try to reduce its size and stop it from reaching the town of Peribán. Primarily used to decrease the severity of hailstorms, hail cannons are shock wave generators that are supposed to reduce the size of hail by disrupting the formation of new clouds, however there is limited scientific evidence to support their use.
Una fuerte tormenta, con lo que pareciera ser un tornado, azotó este martes el municipio de #Peribán, en Michoacán, dejando afectaciones en huertas de aguacate.
El extraño fenómeno climatológico fue descrito por algunas personas como una “culebra de agua” o una “tromba”. pic.twitter.com/HbqFPAzsEs
— La Voz de Michoacán (@vozmichoacan) November 22, 2023
No casualties or injuries were reported following the event, though local avocado growers say the tornado caused damage to their orchards.
In footage shared on social media, a storm cloud appears to descend to the ground in a funnel before quickly dissipating.
Though more common in the northern part of the country, this is not the first time a tornado has caught central Mexico by surprise. On average, Mexico reports around 50 tornadoes a year, the majority of which are of the non-supercell, or less dangerous, type. The tornado that formed in Michoacán on Tuesday was of this type; some Mexicans refer to tornadoes of its shape as “water snakes.”
According to José Francisco León, a researcher at the National Autonomous University of Mexico’s (UNAM) Physical Geography department, peak tornado season in Mexico runs from May to August.
Authorities are currently monitoring the weather to be able to alert the population ahead of another similar event.