Photo: Funnel Cloud over Marlborough

Severe weather rolled through the city on Thursday afternoon.

Patch reader Pascal Chesnais took this dramatic photo of what appears to be a funnel cloud forming over on Thursday.

Chesnais took the picture at 3:08 p.m. and said a short time later, the area was being hit with heavy rain, thunder and lightning. Some nearby areas reported pea-sized hail as the line of storms passed through. 

Weather.com says more thunderstorms are possible Friday afternoon. 

teri davis June 08, 2012 at 11:44 AM
wow. there wasnt any mention of it on the news
Anna Pollard June 08, 2012 at 12:32 PM
Wow! Amazing pic, Coach, and I am glad it didn't develop into a tornado. Scary!
Paul Bishop June 08, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Having grown up in the Midwest, I've seen a few of these. I was skeptical at first, but you can clearly see inflow and wraparound coming in from the west, with the funnel (or the most omninous scut I have ever seen!) trying to develop maybe somewhere around Fort Meadow Pond. Anyone see any blowdown or damage near the High Schools or the Walmart area? That's not on the ground, but it's not that far off either. I would expect to hear of a couple of trees down, as the inrush starts. Wild!!! GREAT SHOT! (I am officially jealous)
Pascal Chesnais June 08, 2012 at 03:10 PM
The best I can figure the area is most likely between Price Chopper and Jaworek School. My child reported that the wind picked up a lot and was quite noisy from inside the school. I drove up Hosmer Street after the shot, the funnel had dissipated by then and it was full down pour in the area. Wild weather indeed! Guess I am becoming a storm chaser :)
Joanna June 08, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Wow great picture but i dnt think i could ever get outta my car to take this lol
Paul Bishop June 08, 2012 at 03:23 PM
I was thinking about getting out my camera to try to get some lightning shots with a doohickey I made for the purpose, but it was over quite quickly. Lots of brilliant ground strikes, which I used to be told was because of lots of airborne hail, ice friction causing the charge to build, and without another cloud to discharge to, has to discharge to the ground, which takes a lot more energy, indicating a very powerful, compact storm.. of course, the curmudgeonly old goof may have been feeding me a total line... He also would have me detune an AM radio and would try to differentiate lightning by the sound.
Christine Forte June 08, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Great capture Pascal! But surely thankful that it didn't fully develop and touch down! Way too close to Jaworek and a very populated area! No warnings either!
Me June 08, 2012 at 05:48 PM
My sister was diving on 495 N and was able to see this also!!!
Anna Pollard June 08, 2012 at 08:47 PM
I emailed WBZ Meteorology a link to the picture and article and here is the response, though I imagine it is difficult to fully assess after the fact: Sure looks like a funnel cloud but conditions yesterday were not all that favorable for tornado formation…although we had plenty of nasty looking clouds around…it may have just been a rain or hail shaft coming down from the cloud. Terry Eliasen | Meteorologist, Executive Weather Producer | CBS Local Media’s WBZ-TV & myTV38 | 617-787-7098 | cbsboston.com
Pascal Chesnais June 08, 2012 at 09:06 PM
Thanks Anna! This was just one shot in a sequence I took, there was a slow rotational component to this funnel. I should have shot video instead for the weather geeks:)
Paul Bishop June 08, 2012 at 09:28 PM
Hmm. Well, I can tell you I have seen several firsthand.. And that is not a rain core. Rain cores do not curve, nor do they have what is clearly a covection band coming in from the left and wrapping around the circulation. There is clearly a rotation component, but without video it would be hard to estimate velocity. Rotation doesn't necessarily mean tornado, it's much like a skater pulling in their arms, making them spin faster the tighter the they pull in towards the center of rotation. You need inflow of warm moist air to feed that energy, and shear, which is clearly visible in the photo as the curvature to the right of the funnel. I suppose one make the case it is a Bell cloud without radar confirmation, but having seen MANY, you really don't get a more classic funnel cloud, in my humble opinion....
Paul Bishop June 08, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Aha! if you got a series of photos in relatively tight sequence, it should be reasonably easy to see the rotation. Don't be fooled that it looks slow, remember you are looking at a structure as much as two miles in height right there. "slow" visible motion from a couple of miles distance may very well be MUCH faster when closer! Can you post the other shots?
David Lieb June 08, 2012 at 10:14 PM
I have to back Paul on this, i think he's right on the money. Visually, all the components are there, but would definitely be more evident in a photo sequence or video. What I can offer here is that I saw this on radar, and noticed an area of rotation in the wind velocity scan at the time this pic was taken. 20 minutes later I was on the pike heading west towards Framingham and saw a ragged "wall cloud" type feature ahead. I know this can happen briefly when the leading edge bows out from a wind gust and wraps around itself, causing momentary rotation.
Jordan Sheehan June 08, 2012 at 10:50 PM
Man that's crazy I'd really like to see it touch ground but not harm anybody or do any critical damage of course:-)
Pascal Chesnais June 09, 2012 at 12:14 AM
Here is the link to the three photo sequence: https://picasaweb.google.com/105059449336069154341/MarlboroFunnel?authuser=0&feat=directlink first one was shot at 3:07:43 second 3:07:53 third 3:08:20 These are unprocessed outside of the camera and should have location info embedded.
sherry smith June 09, 2012 at 01:43 AM
wow my mom lives literally behind and up the street from here
Georgina June 09, 2012 at 01:56 AM
So do we!!!
RhondaU June 09, 2012 at 03:14 AM
Sometimes your eyes tell more than science.
Sara June 09, 2012 at 12:25 PM
According to the news last night it was a scud cloud, which is often mistaken for a funnel cloud, the difference is there's no rotation, so relax people!!!
Pascal Chesnais June 09, 2012 at 10:45 PM
Sara, I noted slow rotation when I snapped the pictures. I guess you had to have been there.
Jeremy June 10, 2012 at 07:28 PM
You're reference to weather geeks, is insulting. They are actually professional meteorologists. Two news channels made reference to your so-called funnel cloud, saying it is called a scud cloud. I guess we see what we want to see!!!
JohnGalt June 10, 2012 at 10:20 PM
@Jeremy, You are reference to weather geeks? You were reference to weather geeks? *Your It's a possessive. We all learned the difference between your and you're in 2nd or 3rd grade. Also, why, the, comma, after, "geeks", ?,
Paul Bishop June 11, 2012 at 06:23 AM
Quite obviously, Pascal meant "weather geek" in a positive manner.. and from what he took photos of above, had every reason to believe (and I am still not convinced... and I have seen these in person many times before- something the local meteorologist have not.) Pascal-- great shot, and thanks for giving us something to look at and discuss! As for Jeremy and Galt... they aren't even decent trolls.. they need their billy goats prechewed.


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