Lough Neagh funnel cloud stirs up a swirl of excitement
This is the stunning image that shows a funnel cloud touching down on the surface of Lough Neagh – close to a tiny fishing boat.
It was taken by fisherman Barry McGuigan, who was out working on the British Isles' biggest lake when it appeared.
It is thought to have been the best documented weather phenomenon of its kind in Northern Ireland, as numerous photographs were shared on social media.
"We were out fishing yesterday, out of Cranfield, and the water spout came down the lough and stopped just at the Cargan area," Barry told the Belfast Telegraph.
"It was like a twister but it stayed in one place for five to 10 minutes and then it just fizzled out.
"We had a bit of extreme weather afterwards, with the wind coming one road and the waves coming the other road.
"I've been fishing for six or seven years and I've never seen anything like it.
"My friend has been fishing on the lough for about 20 years and he has never seen it either."
The funnel cloud was also sighted by staff at Belfast International Airport as it formed over the lough shortly after 7.30pm, and Creggan Kickhams GAC, near Randalstown, reported a number of funnel clouds close to its pitch.
Another witness took a camera phone image from the Ballyronan Road showing the funnel and disturbance on the surface of the lough, confirming it was a touchdown. "I was driving at the time, saw it and stopped the car and got several images – right place at the right time," she said.
Storm chaser Martin McKenna missed the spectacular sight. "I was totally gutted," he said. "I've spent years looking for something like this."
A funnel cloud, a funnel-shaped cloud of condensed water droplets, is generally the cause of a tornado. If a funnel cloud manages to touch ground it becomes a tornado. Wikipedia