I was minding my own business at home when I heard the rumbles of an approaching storm. Being a pilot, I rushed upstairs to stick my head out of the window!
There was a dark-based cloud line with quite a lot of inflow and the odd discharge every 30s or so. I'd estimate the cloudbase to be c.1,000-1,500' AGL. I watched it for about 5mins as it drifted past about 2km away, judging by the lightning-thunder delay.
I could see a lot of convergence between the bulk of the cloud and the inflow, probably 60deg change in direction. Then I noticed the back end of the cloud was hanging much lower and there was clear evidence of rotation in an area c.500m across, with cloud shreds rapidly rising into the main mass.
It didn't touch the ground at all but I think it must have got within a few hundred feet of it. It wasn't a classic funnel cloud/tornado at that stage but much wider area, probably going round at at least 20kts on the periphery.
I had a camera with me and am just having a look at some video I took - if it's any good I'll post it...
Edit: Not exactly broadcast quality but it shows rotation at the back end of the storm. If I can clean it up I might put it online but I'm sure there'll be better footage somewhere.
Last edited by FullWings; 8th May 2012 at 13:02.