Funnel cloud spotted near Bellyache Ridge |

Funnel cloud spotted near Bellyache Ridge

Scott N. Miller
NWS Funnel Cloud SD 6-30 Special to the Daily/John Cummins

We may not be in Kansas any more, but we do have funnel clouds from time to time.Local electrician John Cummins, owner of Marmot Electric, took photos Wednesday of a funnel cloud in the Bellyache Ridge area between Cordillera, Wolcott and Eagle. Cummins snapped his photos just after 2 p.m.”I looked at the clouds and thought, ‘Am I seeing this right?'” Cummins said. “About 15 seconds later it went to a funnel.”

Cummins, who was driving past one of the tee boxes at the mountain golf course at Cordillera, said a foursome set to tee off noticed the cloud, too. “They looked kind of nervous,” he said. “I’m just glad I had a camera on the front seat.”Cummins and the golfers weren’t the only ones who saw the cloud.”We had reports of funnel clouds near Eagle,” National Weather Service forecaster Troy Lindquist said. “We looked on radar and didn’t notice anything ominous.”

The reports received at the Weather Service’s Grand Junction office came from the control tower at the Eagle County Regional Airport, as well as from pilots in the air at the time.There were no confirmed reports of the funnel cloud reaching the ground, which would have made it a tornado. The perception is that mountain tornadoes are rare. That’s not quite right, Lindquist said. “We believe there are a lot more than get reported,” Lindquist said. “No one sees them, because they’re in remote areas,”

Confirmed tornadoes in the mountains are rare, though. In the mid-1980s, one such tornado damaged a Colorado State University forest research station in the Cameron Pass area west of Fort Collins.While several people saw the main funnel cloud, as well as some small ones that just poked out of Wednesday’s cloud cover, Cummins had a camera. “I’ve been carrying it for your ‘Week in the Life of the Valley’ project,” he said, referring to a Vail Daily photo contest. “I was glad it was in the truck.”

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