Since 1988, this facility has observed a definite pattern to the severe thunderstorms that produce tornadoes. The general scenario begins with an area or line of thunderstorms oriented northeast to southwest, moving eastward with cell movement south to north. This scenario will produce tornadic activity from large cells moving inland from the Gulf. It is believed that the increase in friction overland enables the thunderstorm to produce the turning vortex that is necessary to produce tornadoes. In the northern section of Perdido Bay, this same scenario will produce waterspouts that will move inland. Saufley Field, located along the northeast shoreline of Perdido Bay, is an area forecasters should watch closely during this type of thunderstorm activity.
On 10 September 1996, a funnel cloud formed over the runways at Sherman Field from a cumulonimbus cloud with a 3,000’ base. Although the funnel cloud never reached the ground, the rotating system remained over the field for more than 15 minutes, but caused no damage.