Low level moisture mixed with high winds created the exact meteorological concoction needed to form a tornado near Two Guns on Sunday.
According to meteorologist Dan Leblanc with the National Weather Service in Flagstaff, the wind shear (a strong wind stream or gradient that can be either vertical or horizontal) as well as cold air at higher levels—which destabilizes the atmosphere and causes upward motion--formed what is known as a Landspout tornado in the small town just outside of Winslow.
Landspout tornadoes form from the bottom up as opposed to funnel clouds, which form from the top down.
“The tornado was seen by both trained weather spotting staff as well as Arizona Department of Public safety patrol officers,” said Leblanc.
According to reports, the tornado touched down for about 12 minutes --from 1:57 p.m. until 2:10 p.m. Sunday.
The weather service issued a tornado warning earlier in the day as well as a severe thunderstorm warning at around 5:30 p.m. that evening. Authorities have not received reports of damages caused by the tornado.
Flagstaff is expected to see rain on Tuesday as a low pressure system continues to blanket Arizona and much of California.
The weekend, however, will bring dry and sunny weather with highs in the mid-60s; clear skies will make for good leaf viewing conditions, Leblanc said.
Updated for correction at 11:42 a.m. on October 23.