Whirlwind sparks panic at Stockholm pool

Shocked bathers took to their heels on Friday afternoon as a powerful whirlwind drew in over a popular outdoor swimming pool.

The tornado-like meteorological phenomenon sent objects flying through the air as it hit Eriksdalsbadet in the south of the city at around 4pm. There were no reports of any injuries.

“The tornado pulled a pavilion tent right up into the air. It flew up to a height of around 100 metres and stayed hanging there for ten to fifteen minutes,” said Disa Krosness, a staff member working at the poolside when the whirlwind hit.

“People were jumpy, shocked and exhilarated. It was chaos. Things flew away and got lost, or they flew into the pool. A flagpole broke; a park table turned over… it’ll all take time to tidy up. A lot of people got scared and left afterwards. They thought the tornado would return,” she added.

Staff remained busy cleaning up after the whirlwind as the pool closed for the evening at 7pm.

Therese Fougman, a weather expert at meteorological agency SMHI, said the chaos was unlikely to have been caused by a tornado.

“There are tornadoes every summer, usually out at sea where most people don’t see them. But usually they occur in combination with clouds, thunder clouds mainly, and that’s not at all the kind of conditions we had over Stockholm today.”

Fougman was however able to offer an alternative explanation.

“There is an inverse phenomenon whereby tornadoes are formed on the surface of water, for example, and are pulled upwards. These are called dust devils but it’s really the same phenomenon and it occurs on warm days,” she said.

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