Tornadoes have been know to appear on and around the coast of Donegal. And for the people of Clonmany, it was what you would call a near miss last Saturday, when a funnel cloud almost touched down in time for the festival. Had it touched the ground, the extremely rare cloud formation would, in fact, have been classified as a tornado.
Local woman Michelle Diver, who caught sight of the phenomenon, just before noon on Saturday, said: “It was incredible.” She also said she was relieved that the cloud didn’t evolve into a twister and head in her direction.
Helen Mary McGarvey, who was climbing Mount Errigal at the time, said she spotted the funnel cloud as well.
The cloud formation preceeded an exceptionally heavy rainburst.
Experts from irishweatheronline.com (IWO) believe that Clonmany’s close proximity to the sea raises the possibilty that the feature could have been a water spout. Water spouts, which are more familiar in tropical waters, are relatively weak columns of air over water beneath cumulus clouds.
IWO also stated: “There has been a significant increase in funnel sightings across Ireland during 2011.” The spike in these reports has been attributed to mobile phone camera usage and heightened awareness of cloud formations.