The twister that was photographed on Monday morning above Sliabh Sneacht was an exceptionally rare event, according to a meteorologist with Met Eireann.
Gerald Fleming told the Donegal Democrat today that, even though the remarkable phenomenon was not technically a tornado because it didn’t touch down, it was still exceptional by any reckoning.
“What was particularly spectacular about this funnel cloud was that the winds were stronger higher up than they were lower down. That’s what gave it the long, coiling appearance.
“It was huge, and much more coherent than we’re used to seeing. In other words, a funnel cloud of that size would normally break into a number of pieces.
“This one remained coherent for quite a long time on the video footage that I saw, and that is very rare indeed.”
Mr Fleming said radar showed “some very, very intense rain activity” in the Buncrana area around 11.30am, the kind of conditions in which tornados, funnel clouds and water spouts form.
“There have been a number of sightings and photographs of water spouts in Donegal in recent times. “That’s probably because they are more visible, occurring over water and picking up water. But we are getting increasing numbers of reports of tornado-like funnel clouds over land. This is probably because people have mobile phones now and can take pictures of what they see.”
To watch Niamh O’Raw’s video footage of the twister, click here youtube.