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Blog: Cold air funnel spotted near Great Falls - KRTV News in Great Falls, Montana

Blog: Cold air funnel spotted near Great Falls

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Cold air funnel spotted by Bre Rice on Tuesday Cold air funnel spotted by Bre Rice on Tuesday
STORMTracker Doppler Network snapshot at 12:23 p.m. Tuesday STORMTracker Doppler Network snapshot at 12:23 p.m. Tuesday

It looks like the beginnings of a twister, but cold air funnels form under very different circumstances.

Around 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, some people near Great Falls spotted what appeared to be a funnel cloud forming near Malmstrom Air Force Base on the east side of Great Falls.

Viewer Bre Rice even snapped a photo and uploaded it to the STORMTracker Weather Facebook page.

Although it appears a tornado is forming, it's actually not.

The National Weather Service in Great Falls analyzed the photo alongside the STORMTracker Weather Team and we believe the photograph shows a cold air funnel cloud.

Cold air funnel clouds are typically very weak and form high up in the sky.

Even though cold air funnels can connect to the ground, they rarely do and usually pose little threat to the earth's surface.

These funnel clouds form in shallow cool air masses when winds change direction throughout the atmosphere, causing the air to spin.

I've included a snapshot of the STORMTracker Doppler Network at 12:23 p.m. on Tuesday, showing a shower moving southeast near MAFB.

You can see it isn't very intense and there was no rotation observed within the shower on radar.

Today's sky certainly looks ominous, however we do not have the proper conditions for tornadoes to develop.

-Meteorologist Mike Rawlins

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