Funnel cloud in Co Longford makes for dramatic show

Photographs taken of tornado-like formation as heavy rain, thunder cross country

Mon, May 19, 2014, 14:47

Dramatic photographs of a funnel cloud were taken by an amateur weather enthusiast who spotted the formation in Co Longford yesterday evening.

Louise Duggan said it was “very calm” about 8pm yesterday when her partner noticed a tornado-like cloud from their north Longford back garden which has an unobstructed view in the distance.

“I could clearly see rotation....it had a lot of signs of a funnel cloud” she said. From the ground it moved up quite high in a long tube, it was very distinct, she said. The cloud was “really slow moving” and moved over land to the northeast, she said.

She took a series of photos from the cloud forming to roping out, full forming and losing strength.

The whole event lasted about ten minutes, she said. Thankfully for Ms Duggan she thinks it was about 15 miles (25km) away and the weather in her area remained calm throughout the event. There are no reports of damages in the area.

It is not clear if it was a funnel cloud or a tornado because of the distance at which the photographs were taken. A funnel cloud only becomes a tornado when it touches the surface.

Met Éireann said a funnel cloud was “possible” in the area yesterday because the weather was thundery and there was a band of heavy rain over the east.

Meteorologist Joan Blackburn said they are caused by “instability in the atmosphere” and occur when showers are very heavy.

She added that they are associated with strong winds and can cause local damage in their path and more such formations are possible in the next few days as the downpours continue.

Ms Blackburn said you do get them and they are not new phenomenon in Ireland. It is estimated that Ireland gets about a dozen tornadoes or funnel clouds a year.

A funnel cloud is a condensation funnel extending from the base of a towering cumulus cloud which is associated with a powerful rotating column of air.