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Was that funnel cloud spotted near Lebanon a tornado? Weather Service says not so fast.

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A tornado that was reported near Lebanon on Tuesday night has been identified as a different type of storm by the National Weather Service.

The funnel cloud that reportedly touched down near the Lebanon Emerald Mound Fire Department around 8:30 p.m. was a cold air funnel, said Matt Beitscher, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in St. Louis. Cold air funnels occur in the upper atmosphere when the temperature is colder and the air pressure is lower.

Unlike tornadoes, cold air funnel clouds are not associated with rotating severe thunderstorms, Beitscher said, and usually do not touch down or cause damage. In the rare occasion that they do touch down, they could cause tornado-like damage.

Beitscher said his office had not received any reports of damage from the Tuesday night storms.

Herb Simmons, director of the St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency, also said that there was no damage reported in any parts of the county.

Chief Adam Mueller at the Lebanon Emerald Mound Fire Department said that the funnel cloud was visible from the agency’s parking lot and that it stayed in a field about a half mile away from any buildings. Tornado sirens were activated and the department warned residents to take proper precautions.

Hana Muslic has been a public safety reporter for the Belleville News-Democrat since August 2018, covering everything from crime and courts to accidents, fires and natural disasters. She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Journalism and her previous work can be found in The Lincoln Journal-Star and The Kansas City Star.
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