Four funnels in one cloud fight to touch down during storm
Thursday, June 29, 2017, 3:45 PM - Mélissa Rouleau managed to capture a rare sight Wednesday evening as severe storms rolled through southern Quebec.
Not one, but four funnel clouds formed as she was driving between Saint-Casimir and Saint-Ubalde, which is about 80 km southwest of Quebec City.
This comes days after three tornadoes and a microburst were confirmed in the province.
Archived radar velocity (see below) shows a supercell formed Wednesday just after 7 p.m., which is about the time Rouleau posted the video to Facebook.
"What you're seeing is a large mesocyclone from a supercell (rotating storm) and multiple vortices around the periphery of the mesocyclone itself," says The Weather Network meteorologist Erin Wenckstern. "This is definitely unusual and tricky to decipher what is exactly happening, but it appears multiple funnel clouds are attempting to each form a tornado from this one supercell."
Science Behind The Weather: Funnel or tornado
Within the broad rotation of this specific storm, there were four areas of concentrated rotation, according to Wenckstern.
"If this had, or did touch the ground, it would have been a multi-vortex tornado. You can think of it like those amusement park rides with the spinning tea cups, where the entire ride is rotating, but so are the smaller tea cups around the ride."
Environment Canada has yet to confirm any tornado in the area.
The mere sight of one funnel cloud is sometimes enough to spark a tornado warning in some parts of Canada, and Environment Canada has been known on occasion to issue special weather statements just for funnel clouds alone.
On their own, they're not dangerous, simply rotating columns attached to the underside of a storm cloud, fueled by wind shear. But if they keep their cohesion long enough to touch the ground, they can become full-fledged tornadoes. Even their weaker cousins, cold-core funnel clouds, which do not form from severe storm clouds, can become tornadoes at landfall.
WATCH BELOW: RARE 'tornadogenesis' captured on camera as touch down is seen