An avid Galway weather watcher has made headlines this week after spotting and photographing a funnel cloud in Ardrahan on Tuesday evening.
Kit O’Sullivan spotted two funnel clouds in the sky just before a torrential downpour on Tuesday, and managed to snap the second of these. The clouds, which are embryonic tornados, lasted for several minutes over south Galway.
“I knew what it was straight away,” Ms O’Sullivan said yesterday. “We were watching it for about three or four minutes. There was a good storm cloud at the time. I love this kind of weather because you get some very unusual clouds.”
Ms O’Sullivan, who viewed the funnel cloud from Ardrahan, estimated that it was located between Kilcolgan and Kinvara. She saw it extend about halfway from the cloud towards the ground but could not see if it touched the ground, a feat which would qualify it as a tornado. The majority of funnel clouds to not develop into tornados.
According to Irish Weather Online, which published photos of the phenomenon yesterday, tornados are a rare occurrence in Ireland but funnel clouds are more common. Funnel clouds, essentially rotating columns of air, are associated with thunderstorms and occur when a condensation funnel extends from the base of a storm cloud known as a towering cumulus. The website, www.irishweatheronline.com, reported that Tuesday was one of the most active thunderstorm days of the year so far with torrential rain and thunder and lightning reported in counties Tipperary, Sligo, Fermanagh, Cavan, Longford, Monaghan, Meath, Kildare, Louth, Down, and Antrim.
A funnel cloud formed close to Spanish Point Airfield in Co Clare less than two weeks ago, on June 11, and the phenomenon occurred over Bangor, Co Down, on the same day.
For more information and photos visit www.irishweatheronline.com/news/storms/funnel-cloud-spotted-over-county-galway-21-june-2011/21045 html