Could the Wirral be the next set for a disaster movie?

Posted: 15/08/2014

Recently the Wirral area has been embellished with the presence of many thunderstorms along with a vigorous amount of rain falling off the back of Hurricane Bertha. Meanwhile, many members of the public became shocked and had many a question to ask when a large percentage of them where fortunate enough to capture the most amazing picture to date for what can only be described as a progressive mushroom taking over the sky.

Many who were fortunate enough to see the sky at such an indescribable site stated that it could be compared to that of a scene from a disaster movie and many of them grasped the opportunity of taking a quick snap of the “doomsday” mushroom cloud as it moulded over the Wirral.

Never the less, these intense pictures where in fact taken upon the arrival and duration of the storm that came into contact with Merseyside. Many people appeared to be sceptical over the whole idea of the “doomsday” cloud being within any relation towards an alien invasion or even a possibility that it may be the end of the world. However, Meteorologists suggest that the pictures are displaying a microburst out towards the Irish Sea. 

If you are unsure as to what this is, it is a column of sinking air encouraged by a minute downdraft within an intense and rapidly-forming thunderstorm. These occurrences are extremely rare in the UK and are much more common in the USA. They often have a high wind intensity which has been recorded strong enough to knock down trees along with being an obvious danger to aeroplanes.

The intense storm cloud had been captured on camera by various residents last friday across the borough and it is said that the microbust could be seen from Leasowe, Birkenhead, Wallasey and New Brighton. Gordon Parsons, who is from Spital was at Wallasey golf club during the time that the storm threatened to hit and he was able to see the remarkable sight whilst approaching the seventh hole on the golf course.

Parsons, who is considered to be an amateur photographer said;
“It was about 4.10pm and we could hear thunder and lightning in the distance. I looked up and saw this thing developing. It was bizarre – it was like a disaster movie. I had my phone in my pocket and took a quick picture. I put it up on Facebook and it’s ended up getting shared on Twitter with thousands of retweets and comments. I’ve taken pictures with a £1,000 camera and never had a response like it. It was fascinating, but quite scary at the time – we hurried into the club house expecting to get soaked but it never quite materialised into what we thought it was going to. Then a few minutes later it was gone”.

At the time of the event, professional equipment used to measure rainfall, provided by the Met Office displayed an image of a great storm brewing directly over the region and according to Helen Chivers, who works in the Met Office and it had sparked a fair amount of interesting discussions between multiple meteorologists.

She went on to say; “This was a thunderstorm which developed rapidly in the Prestatyn area around 30-40 minutes earlier than the photos and moved north-eastwards past Hoylake. The atmosphere was very unstable on August 8th which meant that there would have been some intense upward and compensatory downward, movement of air as the storm developed. Such movements often lead to distorted but clearly defined boundaries at the base of the cloud, much as you can see in this photo. Heavy rain can be seen falling to the ground in the middle of the photos. It would be interesting to know if there had been any rapid increase in wind strength to indicate a gust front, as this would be a good indicator that what you are looking at was a microburst”.

Did you see the microburst over the Irish Sea last Friday?

Nicole Cran, Pali Ltd

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