Funnel cloud spotted in Merced County following hail, strong winds

Heavy winds and hail blew through northern Merced County on Wednesday afternoon, according to meteorologists.

A couple of storms were moving toward the Atwater area Wednesday, according to meteorologist Andy Bollenbacher of the National Weather Service in Hanford.

“There have been a few storms in Merced County,” he said on Wednesday. “The main threat is hail.”

The chunks of hail are likely to be pea- or nickel-sized, he said. Strong winds of 15 to 20 mph will accompany the storm as it heads northeast, likely missing Merced, he said.

A second storm could pass through Atwater and Merced. “It’s not quite as intense, no hail threat,” Bollenbacher said.

There is a chance of showers on Thursday, but primarily in the foothills and mountains.

A funnel cloud was also spotted about 2:35 p.m. Wednesday southwest of Livingston. South of Highway 140 and west of Merced, the funnel cloud never touched down, Bollenbacher said.

“We did get a pretty good visual confirmation by pictures sent to us ... and we confirmed it with radar,” he said.