Weak tornado touches down in Kunia

Local News

Our newsroom has been flooded with photos and video of a tornado that touched down in Kunia.

It reportedly formed at around 3 p.m., catching the attention of many in the area.

The National Weather Service confirmed a funnel cloud formed for less than half-an-hour and touched the ground at some point, which made it a tornado.

It was very weak. No damage has been reported so far.

Kapolei resident Rocky Lacuesta says he had just pulled into his driveway when he saw the tornado and went running for his camera.

“I ran to my wife and I said oh my God I think I just saw a tornado,” he told KHON2.

“I came flying through the door and asked my wife are you seeing this,” said Kapolei resident, Stephen Morrison.

Like many residents in West Oahu Morrison looked out his window to see a tornado.

“It was a very distinct skinny funnel not like a big one you see on TV, but you could obviously see that it was a perfect funnel shape from the cloud to the ground,” said Morrison.

“It’s classified as a tornado because we don’t have a lot of classifications to go with,” said National Weather Service Meteorologist, Tony Reynes.”It was more than a funnel cloud and technically it was not a water spout because we didn’t see the circulation over water.”

While tornadoes in Hawaii are rare they have happened in the past.

In February of 2009 there was an F-1 tornado that touched down in Kapolei reaching wind speeds up to 110 miles per hour.

Thursday’s tornado was classified as a weak tornado. NWS says you should never approach any type of tornado or water spout because there are always dangers.

Compared to tornadoes on the mainland, they are considerably weaker.

A few weather conditions have to come into play for a tornado, water spout or funnel clouds to occur.

One of the factors is heat. The ground has to be sufficiently heated so twisters are common in the afternoon hours when the sun has been baking the land.

Winds are light. We don’t see twisters on trade wind days. We have no trade winds today and winds will be absent for the next several days.

Twisters generally form over flat land. Therefore in Hawaii, the places that we usually see them are over Central Oahu and Central Maui, and occasionally on Molokai.

Meanwhile, waterspouts can happen anywhere over water.

Conditions are ripe for more funnel clouds, so please keep your eyes peeled and send in any photos or video to us via Report It.

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