There Was NOT A Tornado Over Casper Mountain, But What Was That Funnel?
Is that a tornado over Casper Mountain Wyoming? Actually - NO! Something different is happening. But what?
Don Day of Day Weather, based out of Cheyenne, Wyoming, along with the Natrona County Emergency Management put out a statement on social media, said that yes, it was a funnel cloud near Casper Mountain but no, it was not a tornado. So hold on. It looks like a tornado. So, what's the difference? Let's have a look.
The difference between funnel clouds and tornados is that a funnel cloud is a column of rotating air and water droplets that extend from the bottom of a cloud but does not touch the ground, while a tornado is a "violent, rotating column of air that does reach the surface."
Cold air funnels form beneath showers or weak thunderstorms when the air aloft is especially cold. The funnels are most common in the fall and spring when the sun is able to heat up the lower levels of the atmosphere, causing convection to bubble up and form showers, but temperatures around 15,000 to 20,000 feet above the ground are quite cold. Cold air funnels are usually harmless, but on rare occasions, they can touch down and cause EF-0 level (winds up to 85 mph) tornado damage. (National Weather Service).
There were questions on Facebook as to whether this funnel touched down. It did not. Normally the National Weather Service will not issue Tornado Warnings for cold air funnels since it is so rare for them to make it all the way to the ground and become a tornado.
In most cases, these funnels never turn up on the radar. They are not usually known until people see them. These days everyone can take photos and video easily so there are a lot of helpful eyes recording the event.
The NWS will usually issue a Special Weather Statement when cold air funnels have been reported. Of course, a Tornado Warning will still be issued if it is felt that a funnel will touch down.
Here is what folks saw over Casper Wyoming on Monday. K2 Radio Newsreader Tony Cooper has shared the video you can watch, below, of a funnel cloud that appeared in Natrona County near Casper Mountain Monday afternoon, 09/21/21.