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KGUN9 viewer photos may show weak funnel or "gustnado"

KGUN9 viewer Lillian Ochoa snapped this picture of a funnel-shaped cloud Wednesday in Tucson.

KGUN9 viewer photos may show weak funnel or "gustnado"

CREATED Jul 4, 2012 - UPDATED: Jul 4, 2012

Reporters:  Aaron Bracket and April Madison
Web Producer:  Forrest Carr

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - KGUN9 viewers snapped pictures of a funnel-shaped cloud late Wednesday morning.  But it's not clear whether the image on the pictures really does show a classic funnel cloud.

Viewer Lillian Ochoa told KGUN9 News she snapped the picture at 10:45 AM at Valencia and Wade near Casino del Sol, looking west.  It shows what appears to be a thin tube descending from a storm cloud.

Ochoa told KGUN9 News, "The funnel cloud was spinning."  It never touched down, Ochoa said, but could be seen hanging from the cloud for about 45 seconds.

Shortly after this story went live on, viewer Ricardo Soto sent a second picture showing the cloud in more detail.

Ray McCloud with the National Service's Tucson office told KGUN9 Meteorologist Aaron Brackett that he doubts the cloud shown in the image is a true funnel.  McCloud said that although some wind sheer was indicated on radar, wind speeds did not reach a level needed to justify any kind of warning. 

But McCloud conceded that the picture could show what's known as a "gustnado," an informal meteorological term that describes a weak wind spin-up on the gust front of a thunderstorm.

There have been no reports of a touchdown or any damage.

The weather forecast for Wednesday calls for more scattered and isolated storms, which could produce heavy rain, flash flooding, gusty winds, lightning and even hail.

With some areas already saturated from Tuesday's storms, heavy showers could lead to ponding of water in roadways. 

Storms should begin to diminish by the early evening hours Wednesday, just in time for the fireworks.

(Many thanks to KGUN9 viewers Lillian Ochoa and Ricardo Soto for sharing these photographs.  Send yours to or post them on our Facebook page.)