The weather was WILD this weekend on Vancouver Island, and there’s video to prove it.

Check out the funnel cloud spotted over Nanaimo Sunday.

Fun-nel Cloud Facts (see what I did there?!)

  • Funnel clouds are not tornados, although they are often a feature that is seen when a tornado develops. Tornados do not always have a visible funnel cloud
  • If a funnel cloud touches water (i.e. reaches the ocean surface) it can create a waterspout, which is basically a tornado on water.
  • Funnel clouds do not cause damage at the surface, nor do they hurl debris. Wind does the damage.

Nanaimo wasn’t the only island community to experience intense spring conditions.

Hail – which I’m guessing is about pea-sized – covered the island highway near Qualicum Beach. Narissa Young posted this video on Facebook to prove it.

What happened

After the front went by Friday (remember all the rain?), we were left with cold, unstable air. As the upper trough swung through over the weekend, it created the perfect convective conditions allowing for thunderstorms to develop producing hail, gusty winds, downpours and an amazing funnel cloud.

The thunderstorm risk was greatest on Sunday, which is why we saw such dramatic weather yesterday.

How do funnel clouds form?

These funnel-shaped clouds are made up of condensed water droplets. They usually form from the base of a cumulonimbus or towering cumulus cloud and extend down towards the surface. Funnel clouds appear under the right conditions in a rotating column of wind.

The last time I blogged about a funnel cloud off Vancouver island, it appeared as a waterspout near Lasqueti Island.

Impressive every time, funnel clouds are rare around these parts. They’re certainly fascinating to watch, but can become dangerous if they touch the ground or the water’s surface.