Skies over Stuttgart spurn tropical-air funnels

    6:27 PM, Jun 18, 2013   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - The sky over Stuttgart was ominous Monday with what appeared to be a tornado, but it was something different.

    According the National Weather Service in Little Rock, the funnel spotted north of Stuttgart Monday is very similar to what forms water spouts over the Gulf of Mexico. The tropical air funnel came as a surprise to residents and meteorologists.

    "You have a weak updraft, some weak shear, and since it's over land, the profile is such that these would rarely touchdown over land, but they are quite visible from land," explained Chris Buonanno, science and operations officer at the National Weather Service in Little Rock.

    According to data from the National Weather Service, conditions were not favorable for severe weather Monday evening, and no warnings or watches were issued for Arkansas County. However, pictures began circulating on many social media websites.

    Chuck Lock, who works at Mack's Prairie Wings, saw the funnel as he and his wife approached the store's parking lot.

    "I was watching the rain, and then I happened to look back towards the store here, and I said 'My God! Look at that cloud.' And, I mean it was a perfect funnel," he said.

    That's when his wife called police to report the funnel.

    "In a case like this with the cells forming where they did and in the environment that they did, we would not expect any funnel to really touch the ground," said Buonanno.

    The eye-witness accounts did result in the Stuttgart Police Department activating the town's sirens, but the funnel lifted shortly after, and there were no reports of damage. THV 11 Meteorologist Tom Brannon said this is a rare weather event.

    "The interesting thing about these tropical air funnels is they don't last long. They're not going to cause much if any damage at all. They're going to be short-lived, and they're going to be out of the way," he said.

    For Lock, the funnel he saw was enough to cause a little panic.

    "With it being right here at my livelihood, yeah I was a little bit concerned. Last thing I want is the roof coming off of this thing."

    The National Weather Service said they had reports of these funnel clouds spanning from Stuttgart north to the Missouri Bootheel.

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