Cold air funnels explained - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Cold air funnels explained

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These are funnel clouds.  Just maybe not in the way you're thinking.  
Even though these cold air funnels appear extremely dark and gray, they rarely touch down.  When they do, they seldom cause big damage.  
Unlike a tornado in a supercell, cold air funnels are nearly impossible to spot on radar.  They have no tell-tale sign and are often very brief.  The National Weather Service will only warn them occasionally.

These funnels came in through our 'See it, Shoot it, Send it' gallery.  They usually form several thousand feet up, well above most funnel clouds.  The cold air high up leads to unstable air and often comes with speckled showers.  We also have plenty of mid-level spin, a necessary piece to the puzzle.  Here's the setup on VIPIR.  Most tornadoes form along a boundary, like a cold or warm front.  Cold air funnels are a different breed.   They form at the center of a closed-off low pressure system.  A textbook example has been drifting around Wisconsin and Illinois all week.   Last night, it finally centered itself near Toledo.   The southern part of the massive storm brought severe weather to the Deep South.  

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