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DON’T FREAK OUT, It’s Just a Cold Air Funnel

For a brief time Monday afternoon, a cold air funnel cloud sighting gripped a portion of the Sioux Falls area.  It was an unexpected component to start the work week.  

The sighting took place on the southwest side of the city about 2:30pm.  Some mild concern even took place as Kuehn Pool was evacuated for a time.  However within 45 minutes the evidence was gone.

The National Weather Service issued an advisory regarding the funnel sightings at 2:49 pm CDT: 

AN OUTFLOW BOUNDARY MOVING SOUTH ACROSS THE AREA MAY CAUSE BRIEF FUNNEL CLOUDS TO DEVELOP ALONG A LINE FROM MONTROSE SOUTH DAKOTA TO ROCK RAPIDS IOWA. ANY FUNNELS THAT DEVELOP ARE EXPECTED TO BE WEAK AND ARE NOT EXPECTED TO TOUCH THE GROUND.

There is a distinct difference between a cold air funnel and a full-fledged tornado.  According to Meteorologist Jeff Haby from theweatherprediction.com:

A cold air funnel is a high based weak circulation that occurs in a cool air mass. By high based it is meant it develops well above the earth’s surface. Since it is high based and weak they rarely impact the earth’s surface although they can look threatening. Cold air funnels develop in a shallow cool air mass and often behind a cold frontal passage.  A tornado is a violently rotating column of air in contact with the earth’s land surface that originates from a thunderstorm.  

It was a stop and stare moment in Sioux Falls, unless you got shooed back inside by the boss.

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