A primary school teacher was able to show her pupils nature in action when the group spotted a rare funnel cloud above Thirsk.

Emma Richardson, who works at Sowerby Primary Academy, was out with a group of pupils on Friday when she spotted the unusual-shaped cloud above Thirsk secondary school.

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Funnel clouds happen when a rotating column of wind draws in cloud droplets, making a region of intense low pressure visible.

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.

The Northern Echo: The funnel cloud above Thirsk School and Sixth Form pictured by Emma RichardsonThe funnel cloud above Thirsk School and Sixth Form pictured by Emma Richardson

Emma manged to take some snaps of the natural phenomena when it appeared in the sky over Thirsk at around 9.30am this morning.

She said it was fitting to spot the cloud whilst out with pupils as she was able to explain its formation process to the youngsters while they could all see it in real life.

Emma said: "We were doing the water cycle in class so it actually fit in quite well with our work.

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"It isn't something you see every day.

"I have seen one before but it just came and went whereas we could see this one start to gather, then it kept spiralling down and disappearing and spiralling back round again.

"I would say it only lasted between five and ten minutes but it felt longer than that."

The Northern Echo: The funnel cloud in Thirsk Picture: Emma RichardsonThe funnel cloud in Thirsk Picture: Emma Richardson

Funnel clouds are relatively rare in the UK - they can be very dramatic in appearance and are often mistaken for tornadoes

Crucially, a funnel cloud does not reach the earth's surface, at the point it reaches land it becomes a tornado, or if it reaches a body of water it becomes a waterspout.

The Met Office says in a typical year, the UK sees around 30 to 35 tornadoes annually though it is very rare that are they strong enough to cause any significant damage.

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