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What's the difference between a landspout and supercell tornado?

A landspout was spotted Tuesday evening near Bishop, which is not the same as a supercell tornado. Here's why.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The National Weather Service issued a special weather statement Tuesday night about strong winds in the Bishop and Driscoll area. One 3NEWS viewer even caught a rare sight on camera. 

Several photos were sent in to 3NEWS just after 7 p.m. Tuesday from around the area of FM 665 and FM 70. Photos show not a full blown tornado, but what is known as a landspout. 

So, what's the difference between and landspout and a supercell tornado?

We turned to 3NEWS Meteorologist Carly Smith for an answer. 

The key difference between the two, Carly said, is how they form.

"Landspouts originate at the surface and that is what helps create that kind of rope like appearance," Carly said.

A supercell tornado, however, must have a rotating updraft. 

"So, it is a much stronger storm in the first place and that can help those tornadoes last a long time and create that extensive damage," Carly said. "You've got that rotating column of air that starts within the storm, and then you see the wall cloud develop and then a supercell tornado. That rotating column of air starts from the cloud and stretches downward."

If it doesn't reach the ground, it is called a funnel cloud. 

Typically, landspouts are on the weaker side and do not create much damage or last very long. 

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