Tornado causing a funnel cloud seen over Plymouth Sound


Pictures and videos show the moment a tornado-causing funnel cloud appeared over Plymouth.

When such a cloud hits the ground, it becomes the much more notorious tornado – and although the UK experiences between 30 and 35 tornadoes each year, according to the Met Office, this nascent cloud was not to be one of between them.

The footage was captured by Peter Wilkes and shared on the Storm Chasers group.

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He captured images of the cloud around 5:25 pm last night overlooking Plymouth Sound.

He wrote on his post that it was an ‘on the list’, stating: ‘I’ve always wanted to see an actual funnel or tornado ever since I saw Twister as a kid. I can tick it off now! “

The funnel cloud captured over Plymouth Sound

According to the Met Office, a funnel cloud like the one captured expands, spinning cloud fingers that reach the ground but never touch it. However, when they reach the ground, they become a tornado.

Although tornadoes are not uncommon in the UK, they rarely cause the destruction seen in more tropical areas such as the Caribbean, due to the climate in which they form and the intensity of their congregation.

In the UK, a funnel cloud often looks like a thin piece of hanging rope emanating from the clouds above, while in hot spots such as the ‘Tornado Alley’ of the United States of America, they are often thicker and much more intense.

A funnel cloud forms when a spinning column of wind attracts cloud droplets, making a region of intense low pressure visible. Much like their more destructive ground parent, they form similarly by building around this localized area of ​​intense low pressure and are more commonly associated with cumulonimbus formation.

The weather associated with funnel clouds is also not what you would expect to see on a day trip to the beach. This is because the clouds from which they are formed, cumulonimbus clouds often bring heavy rain, hail, thunder and lightning.

When a funnel cloud turns into a tornado when it hits the ground, the energy of the cloud brings very strong winds in close proximity to the vortex, causing potentially severe damage often seen when a tornado lands.

A funnel cloud only becomes a tornado if it makes contact with the ground – if it hits a body of water, it becomes a waterspout.

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