REMARKABLE pictures appear to show a tornado form over Scotland’s capital city.
On Wednesday – which saw violent storms follow the hottest day of the year Kerry Mitchell photographed a dark funnel descending from the clouds at about 7.30pm.
Kerry, who was in Fala, Midlothian at the time, said the “tornado” moved slowly for about two minutes over east Edinburgh before disappearing from the ground up.
Meteorologists have confirmed that the weather conditions that day meant it was entirely possible a tornado was formed.
The picture was shared online by Kerry’s husband, Stuart, who captioned it: “Snap of what appears to be a tornado yesterday looking towards Edinburgh from Soutra.”
He said: “It was about half seven on Wednesday evening – she observed it for about two minutes and it was moving slowly.
“It eventually seemed to disperse from the ground up. She thinks it was over east Edinburgh.”
A Met Office meteorologist said: “It’s a great picture. Unfortunately as we can’t see the ground there’s no way to confirm if it was a tornado or just a funnel cloud.
“The setup on Wednesday would definitely have allowed for funnel clouds/tornadoes to form with a lot of instability in the air, allowing for the heavy thundery showers that affect many northern parts.”
A tornado, also referred to as a twister or cyclone, consists of a violently rotating column of air that twists while both in contact with the surface of the earth and a cumulonimbus storm cloud.
They begin life as a funnel cloud – which consists of condensed water droplets associated with a rotating column of wind.
It extends from the base of the cloud and officially becomes a tornado when it makes contact with the ground.
Tornadoes can appear in many shapes and sizes, ranging from a hardly-noticeable spiral of wind measuring a few metres across, to gigantic cyclones stretching 150m wide and travelling distances of up to 8km.
They are rated on a Fujita scale which ranges from F0 – which may damage trees – to an F5 which can rip buildings off their foundations.
The United States experiences the most extreme tornadoes, with the worst ever recorded being the Tri-State tornado of 1925.
The F5 twister travelled 352km through Missouri, Illinois and Indiana, reaching speeds of 73 mph and killing 695 people.
The UK’s strongest tornado struck Birmingham in 1954. It travelled nearly 12km and caused an estimated £12m worth of damage.