A DUNMANWAY woman captured rare and remarkable footage of an ash tornado on her phone at the weekend.
Cora O’Donoghue of Ballinacarriga said she had been looking at a fire in a nearby field when the phenomena appeared as if out of thin air, shortly after 2.30pm.
‘Initially, it was terrifying,’ she said. ‘I was afraid it was something that could have escalated and gotten out of control, but thankfully it did not.
‘I couldn’t believe the luck I had in having the camera to film it because it would have been impossible to photograph this event.
Cora and her son Cormac watched as it started to dissipate and move gently around the field before it cleared – all of which took a matter of minutes.
In June 2021, a reader of The Southern Star shared a similar video taken near the showgrounds in Skibbereen and online readers identified it as a dust devil, or what is traditionally known as a ‘si gao- ithe,’ or fairy wind.
‘From the description,’ meteorologist with Met Éireann Paul Downes said, ‘it sounds like a vortex similar to a dust devil or firenado.
‘With the intense heat of the fire it can make the atmosphere unstable, accelerating the upward motion of the air near the surface of the ground.
‘If there is any shear in the atmosphere this can cause the column of air to spin and as the air accelerates upwards... it draws the rotating column of air into a tighter faster vortex.’
He said this could be more akin to a dust devils and these are not uncommon in Ireland.
Cora said the incident did give her a fright and afterwards she remained on alert in case it returned and presented a danger.