Herald Journal - Enterprise Dispatch - Delano Herald Journal
Wednesday’s funnel cloud: little action, much reaction

JULY 27, 2009

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

COKATO, MN - The National Weather Service called Wednesday’s occurrence a cold air funnel.

“That’s not necessarily what I would call it,” said National Weather Service Meteorologist Lisa Schmit.

Schmit described it as cold air half-way up in the atmosphere that allows for circulation to develop, but not likely to reach the ground.

“There is a very low chance [the funnel] would make contact,” she said, explaining the mechanisms of a tornado aren’t there.

If there is a touchdown, it would likely be brief and cause minimal damage, Schmit said.

That is why a warning wasn’t issued by the National Weather Service.

However, individual counties and cities have the right to sound the sirens using their own discretion without the NWS issuing a tornado warning.

The cities of Cokato, Howard Lake, Winsted, Waverly, Lester Prairie, and Silver Lake sounded their alarms Wednesday as a precaution.

The Jon and Jane Ryan farm southwest of Cokato did have some remnants of a touchdown.

About 100 feet of corn was lying in every direction not too far from their home, showing there was some action Wednesday.

With this front, Schmit said there were probably more funnels of this type spotted that day than were actually reported.

On the same note, with the funnel being so high up in the atmosphere, there was a greater chance for it to be seen from farther distances, as well, Schmit explained.

Therefore, many of the reports could quite possibly have been the same funnel. For example the funnel cloud that was seen south of Cokato, was likely the same cloud being reported near French Lake, Darwin, and even in the Winsted area.

Schmit also said with this type of cloud is capable of producing several funnels not far away from each other.

Despite the lack of severity these funnels may have been, they definitely caught the attention of many.

Rick Sorensen of Cokato, like many, went out to catch a glimpse of this seemingly fearless funnel. Sorensen submitted a few photos to the newspaper and also posted a YouTube video.

And for those who did heed cover, safety officials would agree it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Weather photos can be e-mailed to news@heraldjournal.com.


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