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Weather Talk: Funnel cloud sightings prompt tornado warning

Saturday afternoon, many people were surprised when warning sirens started going off and a tornado-warning message began for southern Clay County. Although thundershowers had been forecast, tornadoes had not been expected. It turns out there were...

Saturday afternoon, many people were surprised when warning sirens started going off and a tornado-warning message began for southern Clay County.

Although thundershowers had been forecast, tornadoes had not been expected. It turns out there were, in fact, no tornadoes on Saturday. What prompted the tornado warning were funnel clouds sighted by the public (as well as one of our WDAY tower cameras).

A funnel cloud is not a tornado unless it reaches the ground, and these did not and were not likely to because the parent showers producing them had weak updrafts.

Technically, the funnels were cold-air funnels, weakly rotating columns of air associated with weak showers and cool temperatures in the upper atmosphere.

The tornado warning was a precaution taken by the National Weather Service until the funnels could be observed long enough to make sure they were not dangerous.

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Have a weather question you'd like answered? Email weather@wday.com ,

or write to WDAY Stormtracker, WDAY-TV, Box 2466, Fargo, ND 58108

Read the blog at http://stormtrack.areavoices.com

Related Topics: WEATHERWEATHERTALK
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