Ireland: Tornado swirls through Co Antrim

A wild weather encounter in Northern Ireland has been caught on camera.

Retired laboratory worker Harold Avery (60) from Ballymena spotted a funnel cloud tornado on Tuesday evening at around 6.15pm on Tuesday.

“There had been heavy thunder clouds earlier in the day. It was still evening and I just happened to be wandering out to the back garden, praying for rain to get some salmon caught.

“A large storm cloud was growing in the sky, to the east of us in Ballymena. I saw a funnel drop from the base of the cloud so ran inside to get my camera.”

Mr Avery nearly missed his chance to capture the image of the weather phenomenon.

“The batteries were flat of course, but by the time they were replaced I still was able to get a couple of photographs. With fumbling about and being so pushed for time I didn’t get the zoom on, but it was an impressive site.

“The whole episode lasted about two minutes across farmland and hills in the distance, to the east of us. The tornado formed and reformed twice before dissipating in a chaotic swirl. I have seen them before here, but they rarely touch the ground as our storms are not intense enough. This one was not far away from the ground before it ran out of energy.

“We don’t have the right atmosphere intensity for tornados on a scale with say, somewhere, like Oklahoma, but the conditions here were perfect for it on Tuesday. I’m lucky I managed to get photographs.”

Though quite frequent along the coastlines of Ireland, many occurrences go unreported, with very few ever captured on camera.

Back in April Dunseverick couple Mabel and Norman Dunlop grabbed the chance to take a photograph of a double-tailed waterspout tornado when they spotted it while serving breakfast at their Bushmills guesthouse.

The weather outlook for Northern Ireland over the coming days is likely to be a bit less dramatic.

Helen Rossington, a forecaster with the Meteor Group, said: “Things are due to be a lot quieter over the next couple of days with winds coming from the north. It will be cloudy and dry with temperatures struggling a little at around 17C or 18C with some sunny spells. Saturday will be cloudy with a chance of drizzle and a maximum temperature of 19C. The maximum temperature for Northern Ireland looks to steadily increase over the weekend to 20C on Sunday and 21C on Monday.”

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