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Lowcountry dark skies spawn funnel clouds

This photo taken about 5:30 p.m. Monday from Rutledge Tower at the Medical University of South Carolina shows a possible funnel cloud over Charleston.

The dark clouds hovering over the Charleston area Monday afternoon spawned several funnel clouds, according to the National Weather Service.

Several were reported along the Wando River, according to the weather service. One may have been spotted near the Medical University.

An MUSC doctor snapped a photograph of what might have been a funnel cloud from Rutledge Tower about 5:45 p.m.

Frank Alsheimer, a meteorologist with the Charleston office of the National Weather Service, said he couldn’t say for sure after taking a look at the photograph .

“It’s hard to tell from that distance and granularity,” Alsheimer said. “It could be a funnel cloud, but it could also be a low-hanging cloud we call scud, which can look like a funnel cloud but doesn’t rotate and dissipates quickly. In either case, it does not look like it would have been very long lived.”

It’s not unusual for funnels to pop out of the clouds and then dissipate during summer thunderstorms in the Lowcountry, he said.

“They’re not like what you see in the Midwest,” he said.

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553 or

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