VIDEO: Tornado in northern France and ‘red sprites’ above Nice

Also ‘fairies’ seen in sky near Nice in the south

Storm over Paris, France with inset photo of tornado
Stormy weather covered much of France on Sunday
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Impressive image of a tornado were captured on film in the north of France as a storm crossed the region on Sunday, 

The ‘landspout’ tornado appeared in Eure-et-Loire (Centre-Val de Loire) at 16:30, forming over the fields near Orgères-en-Beauce. Fortunately it caused no major damage and no-one was hurt.

“The tornado started like a transparent whirlwind in the sky before descending and getting really big,” one resident told BFMTV. “It lasted around 5 to 10 minutes”

‘Landspouts’ can form during the growth stage of certain clouds or due to outflows from a weatherfront, usually close to the ground and without a strong up-flow.

They are typically weaker than the more dangerous tornadoes that form within storms, but are highly unpredictable due to not being visible on weather radar maps.

Read more: Water damage to homes: Which areas of France suffer most?

‘Fairies’ in the sky

Another eyecatching weather phenomenon appeared in the skies over the Riviera several hours later on Sunday evening.

Red sprites or farfadets, were pictured by storm chaser Christophe Suarez in Nice at 22:00.

Red sprites are large electric discharges that occur in the atmosphere above storm clouds, usually at a height of around 50 to 90km

While not uncommon per se, they are notoriously difficult to photograph, due to their lasting a split second and usually being hidden by clouds.

"Farfadets are related to geomagnetism above storms: sometimes they appear alongside more powerful bolts of lightning,” Mr Suarez told Nice Matin.

As with the English term sprite, the French farfadets is also a word for fairies.