Steve Horstmeyer explains cloudscapes across the Tri-State - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Cloudscapes: Beautiful, interesting & sometimes plain weird

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Shot in Batavia, OH on Thursday evening Shot in Batavia, OH on Thursday evening
Taken in Dry Ridge, KY on Wednesday Taken in Dry Ridge, KY on Wednesday
(FOX19) -

Cloudscapes have many beautiful, interesting and sometimes just plain old weird forms. 

Take the two photographs with this article. Both are tornado look-a-likes.

The first was taken from Batavia Thursday evening, and at first glance, it looks like a tornado.

However, there are no supercell thunderstorm features, like a wall cloud visible. Also, there are no obvious rotation striations.

What this really is, is an optical illusion.

Far northwest of Batavia over Franklin County, IN near Brookville, a thunderstorm was moving to the southeast. Radar measured the cloud top at about 50,000 feet above ground level.

Jet stream winds blew the cloud top off and down wind. As the blow-off clouds moved down wind, they fanned out forming a cloud layer shaped like a triangle.

Because of the position of the sun and the fact that the thunderstorm was in the distance, at the vanishing point, the triangle looks like a vertical funnel.

The second photograph is from Dry Ridge on Wednesday.

Exactly what this is will take more investigation, but one thing it is not: a tornado.  

How can I be so sure about this?  Because even though it is shaped like a funnel there is no indication of rotation. This looks much more like a downdraft on the rear side of the storm, but the jury is still out on this one.

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