The ‘mini-hurricane’ that damaged houses in the Larchville area of Waterford City and left a Tramore kite-surfer seriously injured last Saturday week was unlikely to have been an actual tornado.

That’s according to Dr John Tyrrell, Head of TORRO, the Tornado Reseach Organisation based in the Department of Geography at UCC. “Despite the fact that we issued a ‘tornado watch’ during the morning of November 8 for southern and central Ireland, I can now conclude that the damage suffered by the Larchville and Manor St John areas of Waterford is very unlikely to have been caused by a tornado. A detailed local investigation shows that, although severe, the damage pattern lacked distinctive characteristics of a tornado.”

Instead, he says, it was probably caused by an intense downdraft (called a microburst) within the storm as it passed overhead. These microbursts are not uncommon in Ireland, but they more often occur in the countryside.

Refuting claims that the number of tornadoes is on the increase in Ireland, Dr Tyrell added: “I can authoratively state that this is not the case. It is only the number of reports that has increased.”