WAYNESBORO, Va. (WHSV) — As severe storms brought heavy rain, strong wind gusts, and lightning to the Shenandoah Valley on July 11, photos and video posted to social media in Waynesboro sparked a quickly spreading theory that a tornado had touched down.
Photo of a scud cloud, which many on Facebook believed to be a funnel cloud, submitted to WHSV by Dwayne Armstrong
One of the people who took those photos and videos sent them along to WHSV, and our First Alert Storm Team closely examined them.
So was there a tornado, or at least a funnel cloud, in Waynesboro?
The short answer: No.
What you see in those pictures and videos is actually a scud cloud, which is a low hanging cloud from a storm.
The videos posted online show the cloud moving, but not rotating. Scud clouds can move; funnel clouds rotate.
The official National Weather Service Glossary defines scud clouds as "small, ragged, low cloud fragments that are unattached to a larger cloud base and often seen with and behind cold fronts and thunderstorm gust fronts. Such clouds generally are associated with cool moist air, such as thunderstorm outflow."
"Scud clouds are often mistakenly called wall clouds or funnel clouds," the NWS continues. "In reality, these are just rising clouds due to increased low level relative humidity. They will not rotate and will rise slowly."
While Waynesboro did not experience a tornado during Thursday's storms, the city was still hard-hit. Power outage numbers from Dominion Energy showed over 1,000 households in the city without power as of 5:15 p.m.
One photo WHSV received from Angel Edmond showed a cloud of flying sparks when a tree limb caught fire by a downed power line along Red Top Orchard Road. The road was also shut down to traffic.
You can always submit any photos or videos of storm damage or suspected storm damage to WHSV at whsv.mycapture.com/mycapture/photos/Upload or directly through the WHSV Weather app.