Tornado-like 'funnel cloud' above Rotorua stuns onlookers

A tornado-like cloud hovering above the central North Island on Saturday has left onlookers stunned.

The phenomenon, known as a funnel cloud, is the same as a tornado except it does not touch the ground. Funnel clouds are often accompanied by a strong sucking sound.

Video of the weather event was captured by bystander Andrew Brooking, who sent it to Newshub.

"Took this video this afternoon of a funnel cloud over Lake Rotorua, never seen this in NZ before," he said.

Weather experts say funnel clouds often look like "thin dangling bits of rope".

"A rotating column of wind draws in cloud droplets, making a region of intense low pressure visible," it says on its website.

"They are formed in the same way as a tornado building around this localised area of intensely low pressure and are typically associated with the formation of cumulonimbus thunderclouds."


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