Swirling Cloud Raises Curiosity

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HAZLE TOWNSHIP-- The National Weather Service in Binghamton says the cloud that had weather watchers around Hazleton wondering if they just saw a tornado was actually a scud cloud.

They explain, "Scud clouds are clouds that are low hanging and at times can be funnel shaped and in contact with the ground. Because of this they are often confused as funnel clouds or tornadoes."

Witnesses say that Tuesday afternoon what appeared to be some sort of twister hovered near Hazleton for about 20 minutes.

Hazle Township Fire Chief Scott Kostician says he thought that it was a column of smoke until he saw it rotating.

He says, "We were like really? What is it? It appeared, it was definitely a cloud, and you could see the cloud moving around counter-clockwise. "

He recalls that the wind wasn't very strong, but he could see the moisture rising up as the cloud hovered over a forest and reservoir just south of Hazleton.

"We are not in the Midwest, but tornados or funnel clouds or that kind of phenomena is possible anywhere."

Jack Balogansky noticed it while he was working at car dealership.

He says, "Our service manager came out and said, 'Is a tornado forming or something?' And I said, 'No it's smoke,' but the more I looked at it, it did have a circular motion and something was forming"

The eye-catching cloud didn't leave behind any noticeable damage.

But it did leave plenty of folks wondering what they just saw.

Balogansky chuckled, "I was wondering if we were going to get swept back to Kansas!"