This past month or so, we have been seeing A LOT of funnel clouds in Montana.  Maybe I just have a bad memory or maybe I'm just now paying attention, but I don't remember this kind of weather happening this often in Montana.  Sure from time to time we'd hear of a funnel cloud, or like in 2010 when an actual tornado touched down in Billings.  I've been digging into funnel clouds and tornados just to know what is happening this year in Big Sky Country.

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Check out this shot from Charlo on May 9, 2023.

Youtube//Viral Hog
Youtube//Viral Hog

What Is A Funnel Cloud?

Difference Between describes it this way:

These are clouds which are shaped like a funnel, and they actually consist of droplets of condensed water. The water is combined with a column of wind which extends from the base of the cloud ‘“ which does not actually reach the ground or sea level.

What Is A Tornado?

 A violent, rotating column of air which comes in contact with the ground and cumulus clouds. Tornadoes can be of several types and strengths, which include the landspout, waterspout and multiple vortex tornadoes.

When Does A Funnel Cloud Become A Tornado?

When the funnel cloud touches the ground ‘“ that is the time when it becomes a tornado.

Is Every Funnel Cloud A Future Tornado?

No, however, that doesn't mean it's completely safe.  It's advised that if you spot a funnel cloud to seek shelter because if it touches the ground, you have a tornado on your hands.

Youtube//Viral Hog
Youtube//Viral Hog

What If A Tornado Is Eminent?

From The Weather Channel:

  • Get to a sturdy building, preferably underground
  • Get away from windows
  • If you're driving, DO NOT seek shelter in an overpass.  Get out of your car and hunker down in a ditch with your hands protecting your head.  Tornados can whip a car all over the place.  Get a safe distance from your car
  • If you're home, put on shoes and a helmet and find cover
  • Put your pets on a leash or in a carrier so it's easy to keep them with you
  • DO NOT try to drive and outrun the tornado.  They often switch directions and you could end up right in the thick of it.

Here are more pictures of the funnel cloud in the Montana mountains and then a great list of supplies to put in your tornado kit.

More Shots From Montanans

Locals in Montana captured stunning images of a tornado touching down over a mountain. Have you ever seen anything like this?

Handy Guide For A Tornado Kit

Even though the odds of your life being affected by a tornado are extremely thin, there's no harm in being prepared with basic necessities. Even if the storm misses your home you could still find yourself without power or water for days to weeks. Here's a quick rundown on the basics every home should have for tornado season in Oklahoma.

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