"Had such a wonderful weekend, but this had to be the coolest/scariest thing I've ever seen. A farmer burning off his field and as we stopped so I could take a picture the wind whipped up this fire twister. #nofilter#firestorm #firetwister"
A picture of a natural phenomenon captured in an Instagram photo has taken the internet by storm.
A Missouri woman was driving down a road in the town of Chilicothe on Sunday, May 4th, when she saw this pillar of fire from an area where a farmer was burning off a field.
She got a picture and posted it to Instagram, where it quickly went viral, racking up tens of thousands of views and shares. People dubbed the fire pillar a "firenado."
The the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Storm Prediction Center explained this how these "fire whirls" are formed:
"The atmosphere has ambient rotations in it that occur in a horizontal plane. As you go above the ground, the air and wind increases with height, which sets up horizontal air tubes that you can’t see — the air is rolling horizontally. But when you introduce a fire into the environment, things change. The fire is transferring mass and pulling air in around it. The heated air is rising vertically so the fire is both removing air where it’s burning and pulling air in. It entrains ambient horizontal tubes of the atmosphere into it."