The National Weather Service said there were no signs of tornadic activity despite tornado warning sirens going off around Fairfield County.
Fairfield County Emergency Management and Homeland Security director Jon Kochis says his county policy is to sound the sirens whenever a trained weather spotter or first responder sees a funnel cloud or a tornado.
In this case, Kochis said four first responders alerted him to a possible funnel cloud with the first call coming in around 7:15 p.m. Thursday.
Sugar Grove Police Patrolman Terry Moore was one of the officers who spotted the cloud.
"We could actually see rotation and you could actually feel the air pulling up," Moore said. "We'd rather inconvenience people for 20 minutes to save lives than it to actually touch down and people get hurt or killed."
Kochis tells 10TV he contacted the National Weather Service before turning on the sirens. NWS meteorologists saw no indication of rotation on radar, but Kochis said he followed policy and trusted the eyes on the ground.
"It was pretty convincing from what I've seen so far," he said. "When you're in the element, you're probably better off to be safe than sorry."
Kochis said the sirens went through three cycles for about 21 minutes. He said he will take a closer look at his county's siren policy to see if changes need to be made.
The National Weather Service denies any rotation and did not enact any weather watches or warnings. NWS meteorologists and Doppler 10 meteorologists said what people saw was likely a scud cloud.
Scud clouds can look like a funnel cloud from a distance. The cloud hangs low in the sky.
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