Two funnel clouds were spotted over the Palouse today according to multiple eye-witness reports and the National Weather Service in Spokane.
According to a statement on the NWS webpage, trained weather spotters reported seeing the funnel form out of storm clouds above Pullman a little after 3 p.m. moving northeast at about 20 miles per hour. Shortly after they were first reported, NWS meteorologists in Spokane said there was no cause for alarm.
“I wouldn't be concerned at all -- we have had reports of two separate funnels,” said meteorologist Laurie Nisbet. “No spotter saw them touch the ground -- we've seen several pictures, we've seen a video and we don't believe there's any reason for concern.”
Tornadoes are only considered potentially dangerous once they have touched the ground, Nisbet said. She said funnel clouds are a relatively common sight for the region at this time of year, however full blown tornadoes are diminishingly rare. She said there have been no tornadoes reported in either Latah or Whitman counties for at least several decades.
“We might see two to three (tornados) a year across the entire state (of Washington) -- and those are usually F-0s or F-1s, they're very weak tornadoes,” Nisbet said. “They might take the roof off a barn or something like that, but that's usually about the extent of the damage that we've seen.”