Tornadoes generally aren’t on many people’s minds on the 4th of July.  After all, it’s a national holiday celebrated with cookouts and fireworks!

However, something appearing very akin to a tornado was caught on video near Cookeville yesterday, and it has even meteorologists puzzled as to what it actually is.

Not everything that spins and has a funnel can be classified as a bonafide tornado.  Tornadoes have cousins such as land spouts, dust devils and gustnadoes — none of which we’ll discuss in great detail here — and these cousins are generally harmless outside of a few rare circumstances.

Tuesday actually did see thunderstorms present in and around the Cookeville area, but none of them displayed even the slightest hint of rotation within them, which is what meteorologists look for as a sign of either tornadogenesis (a tornado in the making) or a tornado on the ground that’s damaging stuff in its path.

In fact, severe weather wasn’t in the forecast, and no warnings or even advisories were issued by the National Weather Service within the Upper Cumberland region (or all of Middle Tennessee, for that matter)!

While it is completely within the realm of possibility that there could have been some low-level rotation present in the parent thunderstorm that radar couldn’t see (the farther away radar beams travel from the radar site — which, in this case, is located in Old Hickory near Nashville — the higher up into the sky the beams are scanning due to the natural curvature of the earth), it is difficult to classify the feature caught on video near Cookeville as an actual tornado, as even tornado cousins can be strong enough to do minor damage to unsecured structures and even lift things up into the air, as was the case here.

Regardless of what it was, it’s still a pretty cool video to watch and another example of why I find weather so fascinating!

Watch the video below!