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PHOTO: Plane Takes off as Ominous Funnel Cloud Spins Nearby

By Katy Galimberti, Staff Writer
August 19, 2014; 7:08 AM ET

A flight headed towards Spain from an England airport took off just as grim, dark storm clouds rolled over the region and produced a threatening funnel cloud near the plane's track.

According to FlightStats, a Ryanair flight took off at 1:10 p.m. local time on Aug. 14 from East Midlands Airport in Leicestershire as storms and downpours covered the area.

According to Meteorologist Mark Paquette, the storm clouds were nothing out of the ordinary but still had proper conditions to create a spinning funnel cloud.

An Aug. 14 Ryanair flight took off while stormy skies produced a funnel cloud nearby creating potential hazardous flying conditions. (Photo/©Paul King/Alamy)

"The clouds at the time produced heavy downpours and were definitely capable of producing thunderstorms," he said.

A tornado cannot be confirmed, but the conditions lined up to produce some type of rotation. The competing strong upward and downward motion from thunderstorms can create a funnel cloud or even tornado.

Had there been evidence of the rotation touching the ground, it would be classified as a tornado.

Without more details, AccuWeather experts cannot pinpoint the proximity of the plane to the funnel cloud but speculate that the distance could have been anywhere from a half mile up to 3 miles in between.

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Still, anything even as weak as an EF0 tornado can cause disruption to a nearby plane.

"At a low elevation, a downdraft could push the plane back into the ground and cause a crash," he said. "Those are the exact conditions you don't want to take off in."

The flight did land safely and on time at Palma de Mallorca Airport in Spain.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or


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