Northern Ireland

Storm Fergus hits Ireland bringing tornado, high winds and heavy rain

Damage was caused to cars and properties. Picture from Carlow Weather
Damage was caused to cars and properties. Picture from Carlow Weather Damage was caused to cars and properties. Picture from Carlow Weather

A tornado has swept through a village in Co Leitrim causing damage to vehicles and buildings.

Footage has emerged that is believed to show a tornado raging through Leitrim village.

It came as high winds and heavy rain gripped parts of the island of Ireland as Storm Fergus swept in.

Debris was seen scattered around several streets in Leitrim with damage to some cars and property, while a roof was blown off a building.

Images posted on social media show trees and lamp posts knocked over.

Met Eireann meteorologist Liz Walsh told PA that reports of a tornado in the area were "possibly correct" or "certainly some very high winds associated with the thunderstorm".

She said the forecaster was relying on social media reports and videos to say for certain if it was a tornado.

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She added: "In a thundercloud, the wind speed and direction can change as it goes up in the cloud, which causes rotation and if the funnel cloud is able to stretch all the way down to the ground that causes a tornado.

"It could also have been a straight line gust, it's most likely one or the other, but people say they saw rotation.

"They're not a very forecastable thing, it would only be there for a couple of minutes."

Councillor Paddy Farrell was driving through the village when the tornado struck.

"It only lasted a very short amount of time but caused a lot of damage," he told the BBC.

"I missed it by a few seconds, I was very lucky.

"I kept driving to get away from it - otherwise my car would have been badly damaged."

"I don't think anyone was badly hurt, thankfully, but the roof of a building has been taken off and a lot of cars have been damaged.

"There's a lot of debris out in the street and the emergency services are at the scene".

Gardaí appealed to people to avoid the area.

A post on X, formerly Twitter, said: “The village is closed.

"Please avoid the area and be patient while emergencies services deal with the incident."

The west coast of Ireland appeared to be the worst affected by Storm Fergus, with Northern Ireland appearing to miss the bad weather on Sunday.

Orange warnings for wind were in place for counties Clare, Galway and Mayo, indicating very strong onshore winds coupled with high waves and high tides.

Storm Fergus, which came shortly after Storm Elin at the start of the weekend, also saw yellow warnings for wind in place in other counties, such as Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary, Cavan and Dublin.

Road users were warned to expect difficult travelling conditions caused by debris or displaced loose objects.

Met Eireann meteorologist Michelle Dillon said: "Strong to gale force south-west winds veering westerly will be developing through Sunday afternoon, evening and early Sunday night as Storm Fergus tracks eastwards across the country.

"Storm surge will lead to high seas and along with the stormy conditions there's the possibility of coastal flooding along parts of the west coast, particularly at high tide."

While the UK Met Office put in place some yellow weather warnings in parts of Scotland and northern England, there were no warnings for Northern Ireland issued on Sunday.

It came after high winds and heavy rain gripped many parts of the north on Saturday.

Fallen trees were reported in Belfast and Downpatrick, while at Castle Ward in Co Down, the Christmas village was cancelled due to the weather.

Met Office chief meteorologist Andy Page said Storm Fergus will conclude what has been an "unsettled weekend of weather for the UK".

"Fergus will bring some strong winds and heavy rain for a time late on Sunday and into the early hours of Monday morning," he said.

"While the strongest gusts are expected in the Republic of Ireland, Storm Fergus will bring some windy conditions to western areas, including Irish Sea coasts, while also bringing some potentially impactful rain."