ABILENE, Texas (BigCountryHomepage.com) – Shortly after some much-needed rain made its way to the Abilene area Tuesday evening, station phones started ringing off the hook and our inbox was filled with one question: Is this a tornado? The short answer, no.

According to KTAB Chief Meteorologist Sam Nichols, what people saw was most likely a landspout and not a tornado.

Let’s start with the difference between a tornado and a landspout.

While both the tornado and landspout are labeled as columns of air connected to clouds, the tornado is formed by upper winds rotating the storm, then the funnel would touch the ground.

Okay, so what is a landspout?

A landspout is formed when winds travel up into the storm, also known as an updraft. While winds at the surface merge together and travel into the updraft, it causes a rotation which is what forms the landspout.

Click here to watch Nichols’ full breakdown on Tuesday afternoon’s weather.