LINCOLN COUNTY, Wash. - The National Weather Service Forecast Office in Spokane now says funnel clouds spotted in northern Lincoln County on Saturday, June 6th were in fact tornadoes.
On June 6, the National Weather Service received several reports of funnel clouds sighted in the area of Northern Lincoln County after issuing a severe thunderstorm warning for the area Saturday afternoon.
At 2:36 p.m. the National Weather Service's Doppler Radar picked up a severe thunderstorm capable of producing quarter sized hail. Multiple funnel clouds were photographed by several area residents around 3 Saturday afternoon during the thunderstorm.
Many people in the area said the funnel clouds were tornadoes touching down, but the National Weather Service said on Sunday, June 7 that is not the case.
On Sunday, June 7 Meteorologist Jonathan Fox with the National Weather Service in Spokane said what looked like tornadoes, were actually land spouts that circulated up to 6,000 feet. Fox said land spouts are different from dust devils, which only go up about 1,000 feet in the air.
On Wednesday, June 10 The National Weather Service in Spokane issued a report confirming the funnel clouds were four separate tornadoes. The tornadoes that formed on Saturday are known as non-supercell tornadoes. In a supercell tornado, the entire thunderstorm is rotating. This rotation begins in the cloud, descends out of the base of the cloud, and then touches the ground. For the non-supercell tornadoes, the circulation actually originates from near the ground, caused by the convergent wind boundary. This circulation is then pulled up into the the thunderstorm by the updraft, which is the air that ascends into a thunderstorm. While often the weaker cousin of the supercell tornado, they still are strong enough to potentially cause damage.
The National Weather Service said there were no reports of damage or injuries caused by these non-supercell tornadoes.