FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Brandon Lawson captured the ominous video included with this story that shows air swirling around with the presence of nearby powerful thunderstorms later Monday evening.
While the rotating air takes on the appearance of a tornado, meteorologists at our local National Weather Service office believe a gustnado is the most likely culprit.
Gustnadoes can form as thunderstorms move through and air rushes downward. The downburst creates a swirling vortex of air near the surface which can pick dust and debris up into the air. Oftentimes, gustnadoes occur along a line of strong winds ahead of severe thunderstorms known as the gust front.
With wind gusts similar to that of an EF0 or EF1 tornado (up to 110 mph), a gustnado may be confused for a tornado. However, they are not physically connected to a thunderstorm like the latter. Usually, these only last a few seconds to a few minutes. While they don’t typically cause harm, the strongest can cause some damage and be hazardous to those driving.