We definitely had an exciting weather day on Wednesday! Not only did we have a tornado touchdown in Salem, IA, but there were reports of a tornado look alike near Monmouth, Illinois. The video above was submitted by WQAD viewer Dan Defenbaugh, who lives near Kirkwood, Illinois in Warren County.
Was it actually a tornado? It's more likely that we saw a tornado's fraternal twin... the gustnado!
A gustnado forms by a strong downdraft, or rush of wind, from a thunderstorm. When these strong winds race towards the surface, they may be able to rebound off of the surface and rotate. According to the National Weather Service a gustnado does not connect to any "cloud based rotation", which makes it different from a tornado
Most of the time, gustnadoes only last a few seconds to a few minutes. A few may be able to produce damage, typically at the same level as an EF-0 or EF-1 tornado. Gustnadoes are able to toss debris around as well, which gives them the appearance of a tornado. So the next time you think you might see a tornado, you might have to think twice!
-Meteorologist Taylor Graham