Cold air funnels in Bay County - WNEM TV 5

Cold air funnels in Bay County

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Mid-Michigan saw another round of strong storms Friday, an unwelcome sight after Thursday's heavy rain left roads and basements flooded.

By Friday afternoon, we started to hear reports of funnel clouds in Bay County.

Based on videos and photos, we agree with the National Weather Service in White Lake who believes these to be what are called cold air funnels.

When we hear the word funnel cloud, we usually think of a funnel from a supercell thunderstorm that can result in a tornado.

But a cold air funnel is a little different. It is a weak circulation that forms in a cool environment.  Winds blow from one direction at the surface, but from a different direction in the sky, which creates rotation. If there is enough moisture in the air, a visible condensation funnel can be seen.

Cold air funnels may look scary, but most do not touch the surface and are rarely threatening. If they do reach the ground, they can cause minor damage.

They are extremely difficult to forecast since they are such a small scale event, and are rather short-lived. They are also almost impossible to detect on radar because the circulation is so weak.

Now for some good news: we will gradually settle in to quieter weather this weekend. We still have a chance for a few showers on Saturday and possibly a thunderstorm, but by Sunday we will stay dry with partly cloudy skies.

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