It appears that a funnel cloud formed in Wythe County off Rt. 21 around 2:45 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.
Photos taken by Sam Auxer show the funnel extending from the cloud in the distance. Other closer photos also confirm the funnel.
"There was very weak rotation, almost unnoticeable, at the time on radar," says Chief Meteorologist Brent Watts. "Something that would have never grabbed our attention if it hadn't been for the photos."
The images are obstructed by trees in the distance, so it's tough to say whether the tornado touched down. No damage was reported after the photos were taken.
There's some chatter among meteorologists that this may have been what's called a "cold air funnel." A cold air funnel is a high based weak circulation that forms under certain conditions. The mixing of cool and windy conditions spins up the funnel. If the air is moist enough and rises enough the condensation funnel will be visible.
However, this could have also been a typical thunderstorm funnel cloud that formed under nearly perfect conditions. The mountains nearby may have also played a role in adding to the varying dynamics of the storm.
"Not all storms will be textbook tornadoes. that's why it's always good to take every storm seriously."