All Weather News

What is a Cold Air Funnel?

14 Apr 2017, 6:57 am

Thursday was one strange day of weather for the Western states.

From hail piling up in Central Oregon to multiple reports of tornadoes– it’s something worthy of a second look.
Despite there being a clear funnel cloud, these aren’t actually tornadoes!

Lincoln, California Funnel Cloud

This funnel cloud was spotted in Lincoln, California Thursday afternoon. A few tornado warnings were issued in the area. – Video: evegaffuri/Instagram

Posted by WeatherNation on Thursday, April 13, 2017

Cold Air Funnel

For starters, any spinning vortex dropping from a cloud is classified as a funnel. Not until that funnel touches the ground does it become a tornado.

Good. Now that we have that cleared up, it’s time to dive into a few more intricacies that separate this funnel from its close relatives.

Characteristics of a Cold Air Funnel:

  • Typically occur in cold air (Duh)
  • Not associated with a supercell thunderstorm
  • Do not typically touch down

Even though they don’t usually make contact with the surface, it isn’t entirely unheard of. A cold air funnel can reach the surface, but usually remains pretty weak. Typically classified as an EF-0 or a waterspout.

The best place to find one of these is usually following a cold front (cold air) where cold wind high overhead and a changing of wind direction with height spins up a little vortex!

So next time you find yourself looking at a vortex dropping from the clouds– TAKE COVER! But be sure to check back here to know if what you saw might actually be a cold air funnel!

Lincolon, CA Funnel Clouds

New video of cold air funnel clouds swirling over Lincoln, CA during a stormy day on Thursday in Placer County city, which is located around 30 miles northeast of Sacramento, California #CAwx – Video: Cortney Campbell

Posted by WeatherNation on Friday, April 14, 2017

For WeatherNation — Meteorologist Jeremy LaGoo

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