Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Funnel Clouds Spotted Tuesday Afternoon

Severe weather was not in the forecast or expected to occur, but there were a few reports of small and brief funnel clouds over Iowa and northern Illinois Tuesday afternoon.  Unlike an actual tornado, these funnels very rarely touch the ground or do any damage.  They are actually very similar to 'cold air funnels'.  Cold air funnels occur from weaker circulation occurring in the atmosphere several thousand feet above the surface of the earth.  They tend to form in a cooler air mass, typically behind a cold front or when temperatures aloft are extremely colder than temperatures at the surface of the earth. 

Sometimes there can be just enough circulation throughout the atmosphere to produce these funnels.  And if the air is moist enough, like it was this afternoon with the rainfall, a condensation funnel will be visible.

Here are a few photos of the funnel clouds we received earlier today from Rock City and Davis.

Terry Klever
Davis, IL
Destiny Miller
Davis, IL

Kathy Holste
Rock City, IL

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