WATKINS, Colo. (KDVR) — What appeared to be a tornado was spotted west of Watkins on Tuesday afternoon as a thunderstorm warning was in effect, but weather experts say its looks were misleading.

The image was captured looking west from the Colorado Air and Space Port in Watkins.

A wide image of a funnel cloud in the distance on the plains
What appeared to be a funnel cloud was spotted at 4:42 p.m. west of the Colorado Air and Space Port in Watkins. (Credit: Federal Aviation Administration)

The weather phenomenon appeared to be touching the ground at the time of the image capture, which made it look like a developed tornado. But the National Weather Service said its looks were deceiving: It was likely a shaft of rain and hail.

The storms also brought hail to the region. FOX31 was in the Castle Rock and Parker area, where pea-sized hail covered the roadways.

The thunderstorm warning was in effect until 6 p.m. for Adams, Arapahoe, Denver and Douglas counties.

Storm cells hit the eastern side of the Denver metro area on Tuesday afternoon. The Pinpoint Weather team said the expected intensity of those storms was expected to lessen by the 6 p.m. hour as the atmosphere cooled.