Unusual Funnel Cloud

Courtesy Keith Taylor

We received a number of photos and questions about this unusual ring-shaped funnel that was spotted near Mannford Monday. This kind of formation occurs when the circulation is wrapped by cold air from the thunderstorm. In this case, the rotation formed a rope or ring shape from one end of the cloud to the other never touching the ground. Basically, funnel clouds form because of the rotation in a thunderstorm due to the wind, which in this particular case were near 50 to 60 mph. If the shear is strong enough it can essentially tilt which can start the air rolling in what is called horizontal vorticity. This type of funnel is short lived and is not considered a tornado since it doesn't touch the ground. The rope formation is not seen often in most states but is more common in our area, especially when a tornado is dissipating.

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