Rare 100ft 'snownado' caught on camera in Scotland

The freak phenomenon engulfed skiers and walkers in a pillar of snow


The moment a rare "snownado" hit the UK has been captured dramatic video.

The "beautiful but scary" winter devil was caught on camera whirling snow and ice in a 100ft high circle on a Scottish mountainside.

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The phenomenon - also known as a willy-willy - was filmed by a holidaymaker near the car park on Cairngorm in the Scottish Highlands.

Lynn Godfrey was visiting nearby Aviemore for the annual dog sled rally when she filmed the freak weather engulfing skiers and walkers in a spiralling pillar of snow on January 30.

The freezing swirl then disappears as quickly as it touched down.

Credits: PA

Snownados are formed when a mass of cold air passes over a warmer surface, heated by sunlight. Wind shear then causes the rising air to spin.

Lynn, 49, from Newmains, North Lanarkshire, said: "We were in Aviemore on holiday, we came for the dog sled rally and stayed an extra week for the walking.

Credits: Getty Images Europe

"We have two Malamutes, a Malamute-German Shepard and a Labrador with us so we walk constantly.

"It was so windy, our van was almost blown over.

"I've never seen anything so beautiful but so scary before."

Credits: PA

Met Office meteorologist Emma Sharples said the phenomenon could be caused by a variety of factors.

She said: "It's fairly rare to see the formation on snow. It's probably captured on camera less because there's not as many people up in the mountains, but they unusually form in deserts or semi-arid ground, not normally on snow."

According to the Met Office, the air temperature at the car park was around 3C with the wind speed in nearby Aviemore blowing at around 8mph.

Weird weather and strange phenomena around the world

Weird weather and strange phenomena around the world