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A phenomenon known as 'thundersnow' has caused concern in Scotland, with police receiving 'a number of calls' from alarmed residents saying they'd heard explosions.
Police have reassured Edinburgh locals that the strange sound they'd heard was actually just something that happens when thunder and lightning combine with a heavy snowstorm.
The result is a series of loud claps, which sound uncannily like large explosions.
At around 5am on Friday morning, Police Scotland's Control Rooms tweeted: "We have received a number of calls regarding people concerned about explosions heard. Please do not be alarmed, we are currently experiencing thunder and lightning."
We have have received a number of calls regarding people concerned about explosions heard. Please do not be alarmed, we are currently experiencing thunder and lightning. :cloud_lightning:️:zap::snowflake: pic.twitter.com/YyZ9rbBadr
- Police Scotland Control Rooms (@polscotcontrol) December 4, 2020
Many parts of the UK have seen mild snowy conditions today, but residents in and around Edinburgh, Fife and Midlothian were given a particularly wintry wake-up call this morning, with many reporting the sound of an 'explosion' on social media.
Replying to Police Scotland's Tweet, one person wrote: "It was very loud like an explosion. I can imagine why some folks were concerned as the house shook and the car alarms in the car park set off."
Someone else chimed in: "2020's parting gift."
A third commented: "I heard 4 thunder claps at 4:36am, 4:46am, 4:55am and 4:59am. That was my sleep ruined. I noted the times because it was so unusual to hear thunder in these temperatures."
Another wrote: "I thought it was the tram works starting at 4am. Or round about that time. It was like a steam roller going down the street."
Saoirse Morton, 19, in Leith, had been up late listening to music when she heard the thundersnow.
Speaking to the BBC, she said: "I heard what I thought was an explosion so I started looking for a factory nearby that could have exploded.
"I just sat for 10 seconds in shock before checking on my pets. I was convinced something had exploded. I messaged some friends on Facebook and said something had exploded and they said 'no, no it's thunder and lightning' and started trying to convince me. I took some convincing."
According to the Met Office, 'thundersnow' is 'essentially a thunderstorm in cold weather'.
Has been seen/heard this morning
But what is it? :point_down:https://t.co/i5dtPVmSXn pic.twitter.com/OmER1B6dsA
- Met Office (@metoffice) December 4, 2020
Providing a little more information about the phenomenon in a Twitter video, it explained: "If it's cold enough, then instead of rain, the thunderstorm produces snow.
"This, along with the usual thunder and lightning, is called thundersnow.
"Thundersnow is often very atmospheric.
"The snow dampens the sound of thunder and reflects the lightning making it seem brighter."
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