An amazing cloud formation was captured in the skies over Utica during a thunderstorm in Central New York.

Matthew Hight was at Double Tree by Hilton, the former Utica Hotel, when he noticed the strange clouds out his window. "It disappeared as quickly as it started," Hight said on Facebook.


Was it a tornado forming? There were a few tornado warnings in Central New York during the storm, specifically in Delaware and Lewis Counties, but there have been no official reports of any touching down.

Rich Lupia, who studied Atmospheric Science at University at Albany, said the strange formation was likely scud clouds.

Whatever cloud formations are there, it does look like it is in contact with the ground. Looking at the video, I’m not seeing rapid rotation indicating a tornado. Unless if there is damage on the hillside heading north of Utica, looks like to the west of Dyke Road in Newport Road.

The National Weather Service out of Binghamton agreed. "Not seeing much rotation even playing at 2X speed. This may just be a weird-looking scud. The cloud is in touch with the ground, but not seeing any movement in the trees either."

What Are Scud Clouds

What exactly are scud clouds? They signify severe weather and are harmless, according to Wikipedia.

A type of fractus cloud at low height above ground, detached, and of irregular form, found beneath nimbostratus, cumulonimbus, altostratus and cumulus clouds. These clouds are often ragged or wispy in appearance. When caught in the outflow (downdraft) beneath a thunderstorm, scud clouds will often move faster than the storm clouds themselves.

The storm brought hail, heavy rain, and strong winds that brought down power lines and, trees across the region. Jeremy Dodge locked up his brakes on County Route 18 in Rensselaer County when he came across a massive tree in the road.

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