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Small tornado kicks up fuss in rural northern Arizona


PHOENIX – A small tornado stirred things up along a northern Arizona highway Monday, touching down but not doing any damage.

Video posted online in the morning showed the twister on the ground off U.S. 89 past Cameron, about an hour north of Flagstaff, which had its own strange May weather day of snow.

“Tornadoes in northern Arizona are more common in the fall,” National Weather Service meteorologist Nathan Lynum told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Tuesday.

But atmospheric conditions were just right in that area of Coconino County, he said.

Matthew Harrison knew it was out of the ordinary, so he recorded it.

“(Tornadoes) can be associated with these types of systems – quite a bit of high wind aloft and then strong winds at the surface,” Lynum said.

“Most of the time they’re on the weaker end.”

There was amazement on the internet, along with skepticism – one commenter downgraded it to a dust devil.

Weather professionals called it a tornado.

A wind advisory was in place for parts of Coconino, Navajo and Apache counties, including the cities of Flagstaff, Prescott, Sedona and Pinetop. it was to last from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Gusts could reach 40 to 55 mph, the weather agency said.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jim Cross contributed to this report.

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