Qatar residents have been posting on Twitter and Facebook this afternoon about a funnel-shaped form in the northern industrial zone of Ras Laffan.
But concerns about a hurricane or cyclone hitting the country are unfounded, the Qatar Meteorology Department has told Doha News.
A forecaster said that what residents saw might have been “low, thundery clouds.”
But Steff Gaulter, senior meteorologist for Al Jazeera English, told Doha News that while tornados are rare for this region, due to the need for a big contrast of hot air and cold air, they do happen:
“From the images here, it looks like this was a fair weather waterspout. They’re usually about 50 meters in diameter, and last for about 5 or 10 minutes. They usually have winds of about 80kph in the center, so even though they’re called ‘fair weather waterspouts’, they can still be harmful to boats, or people if they ever drift onshore.”
On Twitter, residents expressed relief that whatever it was passed them by pretty quickly, by about 5pm:
@dohanews @jqassim_qatar thank god it was gone by 4ish pm. it looked like it was going to the gas plants. made everyone nervous
— Nurul Yusuf (@iNurul_) November 14, 2013
Have you seen any weird weather ahead of the MET’s forecast for rain all week? Thoughts?
h/t to Jamal on Twitter for sending us his friend’s footage