Storm Team 4

What Is a Gustnado? NWS Says That Was the Ominous Cloud Over NY's Orange County

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The whirlwind seen in Orange County over the weekend was not a tornado, but rather a gustnado, the National Weather Service said.

Ominous clouds and winds spotted over New Windsor on Saturday night that reportedly sent debris flying off the roof of a Dollar Store alarmed residents, but didn't cause significant damage.

Therefore, the weather phenomenon was more likely a gustnado which forms as an eddy in thunderstorm outflows, according to the NWS.

There may be some twisting with the gust of wind but if the twist isn't connected to the cloud, it's not a tornado, Storm Team 4 meteorologist Maria LaRosa explained.

"The cloud itself, the storm, isn't rotating and that's where tornado comes from -- and you get that funnel to connect to the ground," LaRosa said.

Like dust devils, some stronger gustnadoes can cause damage but the one reported on Saturday was mild.

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