Wacky weather for Suffolk

Published 11:20 pm Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Jonathan Yost caught this photo of a strange cloud formation near Old Myrtle Road on Tuesday. Despite its appearance similar to a tornado, the National Weather Service says it did not receive strong indications of tornado activity in the area.

Jonathan Yost nearly got caught in a tornado once before, so he didn’t want to take any chances on Tuesday.

Yost was on U.S. Route 58 near Pitchkettle Road when a twister steamed over the highway and touched down close by on April 28, 2008. That tornado went on to destroy or damage hundreds of homes and businesses in Suffolk, but fortunately did not take any lives.

When Yost saw what he thought was a tornado on Tuesday near Old Myrtle Road, he took a few photos and then went on to work.

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“I figured if it was a tornado, I was going to be behind it, not in front of it,” he said.

Yost’s photo shows what appears to be a funnel cloud reaching from the sky to the tree line in the distance. But, he said, it didn’t appear to be moving, and he didn’t see debris flying like he did in 2008.

“I watched it for a minute,” he said. “It didn’t look like it was moving too fast.”

The possible tornado was just part of a pattern of wacky weather Suffolk has experienced in the last couple days, brought on by a combination of the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee and general late-summer weather.

“Lee is actually well to our west, but the circulation is bringing tropical wetness to our area,” said Rick Curry, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wakefield.

The storms that moved through the area on Tuesday brought a tornado watch for the area all day.

But, Curry said, there was little evidence that any tornados formed in Suffolk.

“There was a strong storm moving through, but we didn’t have any strong indications of tornadic activity,” he said.

He added they got a couple reports from people in the area who apparently saw the same cloud formation that Yost photographed, but they were unable to confirm any information.

On Thursday, it will be more of the same for Suffolk, Curry said. Thunderstorms are expected, but the weather should become calmer toward the end of the day.

For next week, all eyes are on Tropical Storm Maria, which formed Wednesday in the Atlantic Ocean. It appears to be set to take a similar path to the one Hurricane Irene took last month.