Tornado sweeps across Ballarat

Updated November 2 2012 - 5:19am, first published April 20 2011 - 2:22am
LET'S TWIST: A mini-twister that appeared in Ballarat's south yesterday. Picture: Mark Robertson

A TORNADO swept across Ballarat’s south yesterday afternoon, offering passers by a special spectacle.Mt Helen resident Mark Robertson captured a series of eight photos of the twister before it disappeared, seemingly into thin air.“I thought it was smoke at the beginning but then it kept moving,” he said.Mr Robertson was driving back from Bendigo and was just near the University of Ballarat Mt Helen campus about 4.15pm when he noticed the tornado.“I’ve never seen anything like that before,” he said. “It was like there was a change coming, a bank of cloud coming in. It disappeared once and then came back again, and seemed to be a little bit bigger than the first lot.”Mr Robertson said he thought the twister was swirling between Sebastopol and Magpie.Weatherzone meteorologist Alex Zadnik wasn’t surprised to hear about Ballarat’s tornado, saying yesterday’s weather conditions were conducive to a lower-level twister. He said high moisture levels and cool air clashing with relatively warmer air in the mid to upper areas of the atmosphere had created an uplift, which then caused cloud and thunderstorm development.He said yesterday’s tornado in Ballarat was nothing out of the ordinary.“It’s a bit of a mistaken thing that we don’t get tornadoes in Australia, we definitely do get them, but in the mid to lower ranges.”