Weather Service says Nunda cloud was no tornado
By Ben Beagle | For the County News
A reader shared a photograph taken Monday evening during a thunderstorm in Nunda that shows a cloud formation that resembles a tornado.
A forboding “pillar” is seen extending from a large cloud mass in the sky to the ground, where the pillar disappears behind trees on the horizon.
The image immediately brings to mind “tornado,” but evidence from the National Weather Service suggests the photographer may have instead captured a “scud cloud,” an unusual — though common — cloud formation often found beneath thunderstorms.
Scud clouds, according to Jon Hitchcock, a severe weather specialist with the National Weather Service, “are just harmless low hanging clouds which are often found beneath thunderstorms. In some cases, they can look very similar to funnel clouds or tornadoes, but have no rotation or strong winds with them.”
Hitchcock reviewed the photograph and checked Weather Service data for the time and location the photograph was said to have been taken.
The Weather Service did not receive any reports of funnel clouds or tornadoes in Western New York on Tuesday evening. A review of the radar did not indicate any rotation in near Nunda about 8 p.m.. There was a shower or weak thunderstorm in the vicintiy of Nunda at that time, Hitchcock said.
“I can’t say with 100 percent certainty that this was not a funnel cloud or tornado without seeing video to check for rotation, but based on the radar and the fact that we did not receive any damage reports, I would say it is highly unlikely,” Hitchcock wrote in an email.