Extremely rare ‘ball lighting’ over Isles

An extremely rare weather phenomenon was observed on Lewis on Sunday as several people saw what is known as ‘Ball lightning’.

It was seen over Lochs in the Habost and Loch Erisort areas by local resident Sean O’Driscoll and also by other residents on the westside.

Stornoway Gazette weather correspondent Eddie Graham will be alerting the UK Tornado and Storms Research organisation in Oxford of the incident.

Ball lightning is usually associated with thunderstorms, but lasts considerably longer than the split-second flash of a lightning bolt and there are many accounts of it throughout the ages. However there are very few episodes caught on camera as it is so rare.

Describing more about what he saw, Sean O’Driscoll said: “I got caught out in a ball lightning storm near Habost church hall in South Lochs on Sunday night. It was amazing to hear and observe it as I hadn’t expected any lightning despite the squally conditions.

“The rain started lightly as I was going over the bridge into Kershader at about 10 pm but it became heavy within two minutes becoming horizontal and squally as I retreated to Habost church hall for shelter. I first heard the swish and clank sounds through the trees and, very suddenly, the street lights became more intense and died one after the other.”

He added: “Once back at the house, my wife mentioned that she had observed low intensity flashes from the front room which is 200 metres further West on the other side of the street and also in Habost. The storm resumed again about 11:52 p.m. and I noticed moving orange spheres on Loch Erisort which were much less bright than normal lightning. I observed one of them in detail moving from West to East over the Loch towards the Kinloch churches near Laxay where it became an orange flash.”