Social media lit up Saturday afternoon with pictures of an ominous-looking funnel-shaped cloud hovering over the ocean around 3:15 p.m. But according to the National Weather Service, it’s not anything to be too worried about.

The cloud, possibly along with others, was seen as far north as Point Mugu, to as far south as Long Beach, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Kathy Hoxsie.

“It could be the same one moving south, but timing-wise would suggest there has been more than one,” Hoxsie said.

The NWS has also gotten reports of water spouts in the area, which is when a funnel cloud is over a body of water, Hoxsie said.

The clouds form in a similar way tornadoes do: around thunderstorms, but that doesn’t mean they’ll touch the ground and cause tornado-level damage.

“Funnel clouds don’t mean you’re going to get something touching; it just means you have spin in the atmosphere,” Hoxsie said. “The wind flows such that you can get some internal rotation within the thunderstorm itself.”

The storm has so far dropped about 0.13 inches of rain onto Long Beach, according to NWS, but it’s only the beginning, warned Hoxsie.

“The rain we’ve been getting so far is just ripples ahead of the main front,” she said.

The main front is expected to hit Saturday night and keep going until early Sunday morning.

Valerie Osier is a breaking news reporter for the Long Beach Post. Reach her at [email protected] or on Twitter @ValerieOsier

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