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November-December 2014

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Fire Whirls: Twisters That Light the Sky

Residents of San Luis Obispo, California, awoke to the unusual distant rumbling of thunder at 7:15 a.m. on April 7, 1926. Thunderstorms are rare in coastal California, occurring maybe once or twice a year, and when they do, it is usually with winter storms. But a late-season low pressure center had formed between San Francisco, California, and Hawaii, sending a squall onshore 700 miles to its southeast, with lightning and a very heavy downpour.

BRADLEY M. MULLER is Associate Professor of Meteorology at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida. He lives with his family in De Leon Springs, Florida.

CHRISTOPHER G. HERBSTER is Associate Professor of Meteorology at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He lives with his wife and children in Ormond Beach, Florida.

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