Glasgow funnel cloud: Was there a 'tornado' spotted above the city?

A rare cloud formation has been spotted above Glasgow today, which has a striking resemblance to a tornado – but what is this strange weather phenomenon, and is there any danger?

According to the Met Office, the formation is known as a funnel cloud, and is the starting phase of a potential tornado.

The forecaster says that funnel clouds or 'tuba' are extending, spinning fingers of cloud that reach towards the ground, but never touch it.

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When they do reach the ground they become a tornado.

The photo shows a spout of cloud reaching towards the ground - thankfully it did not connect on this occasion.
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In the UK the cone-shaped clouds are often thinner, compared to hotspots such as tornado alley in the USA, where the funnel clouds can sometimes be thicker and much more intense.

A funnel cloud forms when a rotating column of wind draws in cloud droplets.

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The clouds are most often associated with heavy rain, hail, thunder and lightning.

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If a funnel cloud does make contact with the ground and produce a tornado, very strong winds can be expected in the immediate vicinity, potentially causing severe damage.

If a funnel cloud reaches a body of water it becomes a waterspout.

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According to the Met Office, the UK sees around 30-35 tornadoes each year, though it is very rare that are they strong enough to cause any significant damage.

Occasionally funnel clouds are spotted in Scotland, with a large one pictured above Johnstone, in Renfrewshire in August 2019.

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Another is thought to have touched down briefly between Arbroath and Dundee just a month earlier in July 2019.

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