YOU would be forgiven for thinking that this picture is from somewhere in the US Mid-West, possibly Kansas. It is actually a tornado which presented itself in Urlingford last Thursday afternoon between 2pm and 2.15pm.
Luckily it never hit the ground but did come within yards of it with a lot of dust rising up from the grass to meet it but not quite linking up.
Eagle eyed photographer, Aran Hennessy was on hand to capture the phenomenon.
He was finishing his lunch at his home, just outside Urlingford at Ardeagh when a friend of his mother’s who was also at the table noticed something in the sky. He went out and as soon as he saw what is commonly known as a twister in America, he went back in got his camera and took the snap which perfect;y captured the tornado, also known as a cyclone, at its height.
“It wasn’t really scary and at the start it just looked like a cloud reaching down from the sky,” Aran said.
He pointed out that there was no damage because it couldn’t get all the way to the ground, although it did come quite close.
Weather expert and the founder of kilkennyweather.com, Niall Dollard, said it was the first time that such an event had occurred in Kilkenny. However, a similar tornado struck, the village of Gortnahoe, four miles from Urlingford also during the month of August, back in 2006. Mr Dollard has a photo of the 2006 event on his website which gives up to date weather and analysis of patterns for Kilkenny weather. For example, rainfall in Kilkenny this year has been extremely low despite the huge amount of cloud during the summer.
Back in 2006, the Tipperary tornado did cause damage and took tiles off of roofs while earlier this year a cyclone in Portlaoise overturned a trampoline and upturned garden shrubs.
A tornado is described as a violent, dangerous, rotating column of air that is in contact with both the surface of the earth and a cumulonimbus cloud or, in rare cases, the base of a cumulus cloud. Tornadoes like the one in Urlingford, are typically in the form of a visible condensation funnel, whose narrow end touches the earth and is often encircled by a cloud of debris and dust. Most US tornadoes have wind speeds less than 110 miles per hour (177 km/h), are approximately 250 feet (80 m) across, and travel a few miles (several kilometres) before dissipating. The most extreme tornadoes in Oklahoma and adjoining US states can attain wind speeds of more than 300 mph, stretch more than two miles across, and stay on the ground for dozens of miles.
Let’s hope the next Tornado comes from Kilkenny and hits Tipperary hurlers on the afternoon of Sunday, September 4 at Croke Park, Dublin at around 3.30pm.
Pictured left is the tornado