Met Office explains reason for ‘twister’ appearance on Glasgow weather maps

The cold temperatures and heavy rains yesterday made many of us wonder if we might not have yet returned to the dead of winter as we turned on our central heating – in May – through curses and clenched teeth.

If the uninterrupted rain flooding the sidewalks wasn’t bad enough, the city’s weather observers got a little scared of what appeared to be the sight of some sort of “tornado” a few miles north of the city. in the Campsie Fells region.

The images that appeared on the city’s weather maps looked like something you’re more likely to see in Tornado Alley – the loosely defined area of ​​the central United States, including Ohio and Nebraska, where the phenomenon meteorological is the most frequently observed.

They showed a strange yellow circle forming north of Glasgow in the area between Fintry and Lennoxtown, with a strong purple band circling it in a circular fashion like an eye – which caused people to joke that it looked like In the Eye of Sauron from The Lord of the Rings.

While speculation surfaced that the Campsie Fells might have witnessed a small tornado or funnel cloud spinning in the sky, the reason for the bizarre “eye” formation appearing on weather maps was due to weather radar located in the area.

Glasgow Live contacted the Met Office for comment on the photos, and we were told they were caused by the radar located at Holehead in the Campsie Fells north of Lennoxtown, with the bright colors on the radar images until a “light bandage “.

A spokesperson said: “In this situation, the brighter colored ring extends in a circle around the location of the radar and results from the intersection of the radar beam with a layer of slush or hail. .

“Radars give an indication of where there is precipitation and the intensity of precipitation is indicated by the strength of the radar returns. they are bigger than raindrops).

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“In this situation, the freezing level was relatively low, which means that the snowflakes were not melting much higher than the height of the radar station – and that is why there appears to be a ring of very heavy precipitation. around the head of the radar. “

Some Glasgow residents have been fortunate enough to spot funnel clouds over Glasgow in recent years, not Belle & Sebastian singer Stuart Murdoch, who spotted one appearing in the sky above from the University of Glasgow in 2019 in typical rainy weather in the city.

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