John Henz, UW-Madison alum, is pictured in his home near Phoenix, Arizona on Sept. 22, 2017. (Photo by Bryce Richter / UW-Madison)

Where to find John...



John Henz, better known as @papahenz_wx, has been a meteorologist and storm spotter for over four decades in Colorado and Arizona. John is both a Certified Consulting Meteorologist (CCM) and Fellow of the American Meteorological Society. He lived in Colorado researching, predicting and chasing severe thunderstorms on the eastern Colorado plains for almost40 years. His favorite spots were along the Palmer Divide in “the Denver Cyclone Alley” and out round Limon CO. John moved to Arizona in 2013 but spent considerable time in Arizona developing flash flood response plans and programs from 1985-2017 when he retired. He spends his time now photographing Arizona sunrise and sunsets and thunderstorms while walking our varied desert and mountain terrain. He provides Twitter commentary on interesting Arizona weather patterns, especially during our monsoon season.

Arizona tornadoes and twisting things: Less recorded than meets the eye.

Since he moved to Arizona from Colorado in 2013 John Henz has been collecting information on Arizona tornadoes, funnel clouds and “dust devils”. According to Storm Prediction Center (SPC), Arizona averages about 4 tornadoes a year (1952-2015). From 2013-2018 I have been gathering tornado reports, pictures, video from NWS, AZ storm chasers, media meteorologists and social media. I’ve cross-checked occurrences using radar, satellite, upper air, sounding and visual observations. During this time SPC has 18 reported tornadoes in Arizona in their data base. During this same period, I have visual and radar evidence of 42 tornadoes and almost equal numbers of funnel clouds. While the sample is limited, it appears to me that twice as many tornadoes may be occurring in Arizona each year as are officially reported. Reasons for this difference and possible ways to remedy the tornado observation issue will be discussed.