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11th Dec 2023

‘The roof just lifted off it’ – Locals describe terrifying Leitrim village tornado

Simon Kelly

Tornado Leitrim

“Everything just blew up in the air.”

As two storms hit Ireland back to back over the weekend, the most shocking moment of the inclement weather was an apparent tornado ripping through Leitrim village on Sunday.

Reportedly occurring at around 12.30pm on Sunday, December 10, the tornado caused havoc on the village’s main street, dealing serious damage to property and vehicles in the area.

While the damage was evident in its wake, luckily the tornado didn’t cause any major injuries to locals, however there was a great deal of shock across the community as the rebuild started up.

Locals left reeling from rare tornado in Leitrim village

Speaking to RTÉ, local resident and photographer Willie Donnellan said:

“I was sitting in my kitchen reading the paper and there was awful thunder and lightening. And about three minutes later I heard a big bang.

“So I ran to the front door of my house – I live in the village – and it was unreal.

“I just looked up towards the bridge and all the trees along the canal were flattened. And then there was a house – the roof was just lifted off it and continued up and down to the marina, caused awful damage to Seamus Gibbons’ shop plus apartments and a lot of boats damaged as well.

“I’d say it lasted about 30 seconds at the most. 100% a tornado. Everything just blew up in the air.”

Taking to X to answer some questions from his follows, Alan O’Reilly of Carlow Weather said that Ireland does get “10 to 12 [tornadoes] a year.”

He added that the rare weather events “normally happen over open fields and might take down a couple of trees. It’s unusual for them to be unlucky enough to hit a populated area.

Assuring his followers, who were worried about the possibility of another tornado occurring, Mr O’Reilly said: “The chances of that happening in your area is very very slim. Thankfully nobody was badly injured.”

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