ST. IGNATIUS - A funnel cloud was seen in the Mission Valley at around 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 9, 2023.
A rather impressive view!
But, was this a funnel cloud, landspout or a tornado, and what's the difference? Good questions!
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The main difference between a tornado and a funnel cloud is this: A funnel cloud does not make contact with the ground, while a tornado has some sort of interaction with the ground.
A funnel cloud will stay aloft, however, once it makes contact with the ground it immediately becomes a tornado.
- PHOTO GALLERY: Land spout spotted in the Mission Valley
Typical signs of this interaction with the ground include debris from the ground being brought aloft or dust circulation on the ground.
Land Spouts are non-supercell tornadoes.
Basically, they are narrow funnels that form while the thunderstorm cloud is still growing with no rotating updraft.
Most of the rotation stays near the ground with minimal damage.
In this case, the formation seems to be a "Land Spout" that formed in the Mission Valley.
Many times members of the National Weather Service will drive to the scene and evaluate damage and see if it indeed touched down.
We'll bring updates on this if the National Weather Service does drive to the scene on Wednesday.
Either way, a rather impressive weather scene in the Mission Valley!