Watch video - is this a dust devil or funnel cloud?
PUBLISHED: 16:39 18 July 2018 | UPDATED: 16:39 18 July 2018
People in Colchester were amazed to see a spiral of dust forming today - but weather experts say it was not a mini tornado.
Cheryl Richardson spotted the strange phenomenon around lunchtime, and quickly captured it on video.
“It was around 12.30. I was sitting in the Princess Charlotte having some lunch,” she said.
“There was no noise - it took a second to realise what it was. We were a little shocked to see it,
“I noticed it and pointed to my partner as at first I thought it was smoke from a plane. It was only there for a few seconds and had just picked up dust from the building site.”
Today’s incident comes after a similar sight was noticed in Abbey Fields yesterday.
Cheryl thought this was a mini tornado because of its spiralling effect.
However, experts at Weatherquest said it was not a tornado, and was more likely to be either a dust devil or funnel cloud.
Forecaster Jim Bacon said, “You can get dust devils, as they are called in East Anglia, because of intense heat. You get a swirl-up of wind current and it can pick up dust or debris.”
He said another possibility was a funnel cloud, which is a cloud of water droplets extending downwards.
Weatherquest has not received any other reports of similar sights locally, but there was a report of a similar incident on the Sussex coast today.