Video footage has captured the moment a twister passed through the sky above Wigan.
The mini-tornado was filmed by hairdresser Joanne Tolley Cottom, who said it was “the weirdest moment ever” to see it pass through the Billinge Hill area of the Greater Manchester town.
She said that after she made the recording from her salon, the area was lashed by 30 minutes of torrential wind and rain.
“There were two of them that tried to form. Me and my client couldn’t believe our eyes – I didn’t think we got them in this country,” she told the Manchester Evening News.
“After about 20-30 minutes there was horrendous wind and rain over the salon. The rain was so heavy it even set car alarms off.”
A spokesman for the Met Office who examined the footage said the formation was in fact a funnel cloud, which is how a tornado begins.
The Met Office said: “A tornado is a rapidly rotating column of air that reaches from the base of a storm cloud to the ground. They happen in unsettled weather conditions, usually as part of thunderstorms.
“If the rotating column of air does not reach the ground it is a funnel cloud.
“At the point a funnel cloud reaches the earth’s surface it becomes a tornado, or if it reaches a body of water it becomes a waterspout.”
Tornadoes in the UK are not as rare as we might think, according to the Met Office.
In a typical year, the UK sees between 30 and 35 of them, although it is very rare that they reach the strength where they cause the type of havoc often wreaked by tornadoes in the United States.
Wigan was hit by a more powerful twister in July, which caused a “trail of destruction” according to local media reports.