Funnels reported in Garfield County
There have been several reports of funnels in the Garfield County area. These are associated with what is called a Cold Core Low. This is the Low pressure system that is over us at this time. The freezing level in the atmosphere is at approximately 5500feet. Winds aloft are very light and this phenomena is common under these conditions. Cold air funnels don’t last very long and usually dissipate in a short amount of time so please don’t panic if you happen to see one.
We aren’t looking at any major shear in the atmosphere at this time and cold air funnels are not associated with a wall cloud per se. Here is a short article about these:
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. Unlike typical tornadoes, cold air funnels develop in a shallow cool air mass and often behind a cold frontal passage. The mixing of cool and windy conditions in the lower troposphere with air in the middle troposphere flowing in a different direction may spark the rotation that spins up the funnel. If the air is moist enough and rises enough the condensation funnel will be visible. The image below gives an idea to what these cold air funnels look like.
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