Lossiemouth residents are well used to seeing Tornado’s in the air around their town – but it was a Tornado of a very different kind that surprised locals on Sunday.
As storm clouds gathered around the town for a brief thunderstorm several people reported spotting a Tornado close to the town over the Moray Firth – and local man David Main had the proof when he managed to capture the moment in a stunning photograph.
Mr Main sent his shot into insideMoray – and that caused a storm all of its own as thousands of shocked social media followers shared the image, with many reporting that they too had seen the ‘Twister’.
Readers reported having spotted the Tornado in Findhorn and Buckie – but it was sharp-eyed residents and visitors in Lossiemouth who appeared to have been closer to the action.
Thomas Reynolds said: “I used to see twisters in the middle of the North Sea but they usually blow themselves out pretty quickly.”
For the most part comments were confined to a simple “wow” but James Mackie spotted the storm approaching and could hardly believe his eyes when he saw the spout emerging from the dark clouds.
He said: “I honestly thought it was just an optical illusion caused by the light at first.
“I was walking along the beach and decided I was going to have to get in out of the rain as the storm was blowing in – then I saw the Tornado. Even then I’d not convinced myself that is what it was – until I went online and saw David Main’s stunning picture on insideMoray.”
Tornadoes are not as unusual as people might think in Scotland, and there have been cases where they have struck on land and caused considerable damage. However, most are spotted at sea and are rarely life threatening.
The first element in the formation of a tornado is a thunderstorm and from that a clash of warm and cold air brings the second required element, a force caused by instability in the storm.
The next step is that a vortex in the centre of the storm draws down the cloud into a funnel. The most dangerous part of the tornado is not the visible part – it is the winds created by the high pressure air being sucked into the tornado.
A Tornado was filmed close to Aberdeen in August 2012 (see video below).
A Met Office spokesman said on average around 30 tornadoes are reported in the UK each year: “It is claimed that the UK gets more tornadoes per square kilometre than the USA, but not more tornadoes in total.
“On average around 30 tornadoes are reported each year in the UK, although these are generally much weaker than their American counterparts.
“However, there have been a number of notable exceptions – such as the Birmingham tornado on July 28 2005 which left a significant trail of damage.”