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Another interesting "what is it" photo...

This interesting picture was snapped by my buddy Jeremy Ludin Tuesday night as a strong back-building squall line pushed south through northern IL. This photo was taken just northeast of the Quad Cities on the leading edge of the squall line. None of the cells were tornado warned, nor were there any sightings of anything of the such in the area. However, just a few hours before there were a few tornadoes associated with the line when it was further north.

Here's a view of the radar loop as it moved through... http://www.rap.ucar.edu/weather/rad...r=black&endDate=20070704&endTime=6&duration=2

He's not sure of the exact time the photo was taken, but he's thinking it was around 0500 UTC, which corresponds well with the placement of the line.

This was a 30 second exposure, which explains the blurriness. You can clearly see what looks like rope tornado. He said it was moving from right to left, which would discount the possibility of it being smoke from a fire or a plume from some sort of a plant. A wallcloud can't be seen, but it is a ways away, and may be tucked behind that band of clouds. He said it looked like it may have been rotating, but was too far away to confirm.

So anyway, here it is. What do you guys think?

Shot with Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XT at 2007-07-05
It's a very interesting photo. It looks tornado-like, but with the blurred clouds it's hard to get a feel for what we are even looking at. The clouds above it don't look like what I would expect from a tornado producing portion of a storm. What was moving from right to left, the object in question, or the storm? The photo is definitely looking towards a city, and it really just looks like a plume from a smoke stack? With a 30 second exposure there isn't any visible movement really from the questionable object aside from upward motion. With it being near a city, almost over it from the looks of that image it would have to be hard for a tornado to go unreported.

But as it is with every single questionable image we see, without good video showing rotation or no rotation, we're never going to know.
It looks like a spot light of some sort to me. One of the big question marks seems to be why the cloud base is lightest at the point where the "feature" meets up with the base, which would seem most likely to have been caused by an upward-directed light. Perhaps some scud, drizzle, or whatnot moved through the beam during the time of the exposure, which may explain why it doesn't appear as homogeneous as it would other.
Just a guess.
It was pretty interesting to set out for just some piddly lightning and see this. It lasted for about three minutes and it was definitely moving, so I don't think a spotlight could have been possible. It was over a city, but I'm not sure which. When I first sighted it, it looked like a snake-like formation. I have many pictures from earlier in the night from the same EXACT area with absolutely nothing. I do have another picture which shows it still attached to the base and, if it WAS anything, the lower half also on the ground. It did appear to "rope out" as any regular tornado would. I'm just not sold on the possibility though considering the radar loop and the lack of reports. This is cropped from 40mm. I should have put the 300mm on as soon as I saw it, but I was too dumbfounded by it. I also wish the exposure wouldn't have been so long. The actual feature in question was smaller, almost like a rope, but the 30s made it look to be a tad wider. It was slow moving, but no doubt was moving right to left along with the storm. I have a few other pictures too but they are on my laptop which is currently in the "shop". Hopefully I can put up a few more to point out where I had originally spotted it to where it disappeared. I know it's too hard to tell without any other information other than actually being there and witnessing it yourself, but I'm just trying to figure out if I in fact actually did see something. I do know that my lightning hopes vanished after this! I set out after the location to try and get a closer view, but it didn't happen. I got lost on some backroads and never caught up to the area. Oh well, who knows.

EDIT: The LIGHTS are from a city or a plant, but I believe what I saw appeared to be well in front. A smoke plume was what first popped in my head, but after seeing it change shape and direction, it had me wondering.
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