A thunderstorm, funnel cloud and tornado alert has been issued for parts of Ireland, including County Clare.
The UK-based Tornado and Storm Research Organisation (TORRO) says the alert for Southern Ireland, Central and North Wales and parts of England is valid until 8pm this evening.
A funnel cloud is a rapidly rotating funnel-shaped cloud extending downward from the base of a cumulonimbus cloud, which, if it touches the surface of the earth, is classified as a tornado.
TORRO says the present weather conditions are the result of a deep upper low pressure system to the SW of Ireland.
The research body commented: “Instability has developed across parts of Wales and the Midlands, in a few sunny spells in between cloudier areas. Other showers/thunderstorms may develop across the area through the afternoon. A convergence zone exists (below image), with southerly or south-westerly winds to the south of it, and easterly winds to the north. Any showers or thunderstorms in the vicinity of this zone may stretch vertical vorticity enough to spawn a few funnel clouds or even weak tornadoes. Across the eastern part of the area, vertical wind shear may be a little stronger, and storms may be a little more organised.”
Met Eireann has also warned of local spot flooding in places this afternoon and evening as a result of heavy and thundery over Munster, Leinster and south Connacht. Weather conditions are expected to improve over the course of the weekend however.
A number of funnel clouds and weak tornaodes have been recorded in County Clare in recent months.
A Funnel Cloud was spotted in the skies over Tulla on May 20th last. Photographer Brian Buckley captured the above shots of the funnel, which formed under the flanking region of a thunderstorm that passed over mid-Clare. The rope-like feature is more often associated with a dissipating rather than forming tornado which could suggest that a tornado could potentially have formed over Tulla.
Funnel clouds are occasionally seen in Irish skies and are usually associated with thunderstorms. In July 2013, photographer David Hunt captured the below dramatic shots of a funnel near Sixmilebridge.
Ireland and UK have more tornadoes per square km than the United States. Met Éireann says there are approximately 10 recorded tornadoes in Ireland every year.
Lightning radar, precipitation radar and satellite imagery on The Clare Herald weather section HERE.