Funnel cloud causes excitement in Spokane

Funnel cloud causes excitement in Spokane

SPOKANE, Wash. - A funnel cloud caused some excitement in Spokane County, as many people reported seeing the cloud above Spokane Valley. That funnel cloud wasn't a tornado, it was a "cold core funnel," and they're probably more common than you think.

Koday Pfliger says he was working at a construction site nearby, when he heard some thunder and was getting ready to leave.

"As I walked around the corner, I remember, I looked over and seen it. Had to do a double take. I dropped what was in my hands, pulled my phone out to take the video," Pfliger said.

Pfliger caught video of the funnel cloud, but he wasn't the only one to get it on camera. Many viewers sent in their own photos of the phenomenon. But the National Weather Service says they aren't all that uncommon.

"Pretty common in the Inland Northwest. In Spokane, specifically, I'd say, you know, maybe a few a year, maybe three to five," said Steve Bodnar with NWS Spokane.

Damage from a cold core funnel is extremely rare. It's not until the funnel cloud touches the ground that it becomes a tornado and people would even need to begin to worry.

NWS Spokane says the weather pattern we saw in Spokane Wednesday was the perfect recipe for a cold core funnel.

"When we have these upper-level troughs of really cold air and then we get some sun breaks in the afternoon and it warms the surface then we get this instability. And we get some showers or weak thunderstorms and we get these cold core funnels," said Bodnar.

Even though this funnel cloud wasn't a tornado, a tornado isn't out of the question in our area. But, they're probably not the kinds of tornadoes that should cause much alarm.

"They're generally short-lived tornadoes and generally weak. We don't have the large tornadoes like you see in the Great Plains.," Bodnar said.

We had a tornado touch down in Airway Heights back on August 9. It was classified as an EF0, which is the weakest of all tornado classifications. These kinds of tornadoes can do minor damage, like peeling the surface off some roofs or damaging siding.