It’s a long way from Kansas to Longford, but that didn’t stop the local weather system creating a clearly visible, albeit short-lived, tornado.
Bunlahy residents, Robert Browne (30) and his partner, Barbara Comiskey, witnessed the incident first hand as the skies above them formed into a dark cloud.
“I went out in the front garden and I asked Barbara if she wanted to go for a walk. Then I saw the clouds above us darken and a cone shape formed out of them,” said Robert, who retrieved his camera from the house and took some photographs of the funnel cloud.
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.
“It was lovely looking at it,” said Barbara. “It was about five or six miles away and it was there for about 15 minutes.”
Robert added: “You don’t see something like this in this country that often. It’s pretty unusual.”
Asked if they were scared, Barbara replied, “Yes, I got a fright. I thought of the dogs and that they might be lifted off, but Robert reminded me that they were chained up so it was okay,” she laughed.
Robert and Barbara, and their daughter Alisha Browne, are renting their home in Bunlahy while building a house in Clonfin near Robert’s family.
As a farmer Robert is used to the outdoors and witnessing various weather systems. He had never, however, seen anything like this before.
“It was like a far away version of the film ‘Twister’,” he smiled. “It’s funny too because there was no wind at all that evening.”
The tornado occurred on Thursday afternoon, August 9 last, and another person to view it was Dr Mick O’Loughlin, a frequent traveller along the N55 between Northern Ireland and Galway. He told the Leader that the tornado was like a “huge vortex in the sky”.
“I was driving by Killydoon in south Cavan, when I saw the tornado to my right. I drove on further and then it appeared in front of me. It was quite fearsome looking. I’ve never seen anything before quite like it but I don’t know if it touched the ground.”
Despite this, Dr O’Loughlin believed that it was too far away to be of danger.
“I was on my way home to Galway on the Thursday when it happened. I didn’t feel afraid as it was far away. It lasted about 10-15 minutes. There was a dark cloud overhead and it was like a piping coming down,” he said.