Oxfordshire hit by suspected tornadoes?
After a relatively quiet bank holiday weekend with some sunshine, the weather livened up yesterday. An area of low pressure brought wind and rain followed by some thunderstorms which spawned suspected tornadoes over the south Midlands.
This comes just a fortnight after tornadoes were reported in Warwickshire and Essex, where violent winds tore down trees and damaged properties. Despite the damage, in these cases no photographic evidence surfaced.
In the case of yesterday’s suspected tornadoes, which were reported in several places, including Bicester, Eynsham, and Kidlington, pictures and video footage were taken which would support the case for tornadoes being present.
The thunderstorm responsible for this severe weather was likely to have been a super cell storm. These differ from normal thunderstorms in that they have a spinning motion which encourages the air to rotate and give the potential for funnel clouds and tornadoes to occur.
If you watch the footage in the video below, there is a definite rotating motion in the clouds, which supports the evidence for the tornadoes that were reported.
The interesting thing about the thunderstorm that spawned this active weather was that it had quite a long track. It formed in Wiltshire, before moving across the south Midlands through Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, then dying out as it moved into Cambridgeshire.
You can see this clearly in the radar animation below from MeteoGroup. Notice the dark coloured pixels that explode into life as the storms move eastwards.
Places in the path of the thunderstorm experienced very dark skies accompanied by heavy rain, hail, lightning and gusty winds.
What you may be surprised to know is that tornadoes are not that uncommon in the UK with around 33 reported on average each year. The collection and investigation of tornado reports is carried out by the Tornado and Storm Research Organisation (TORRO) – a privately supported research body.
The weather for the rest of this week is looking quite mixed, with England and Wales turning wet and breezy with further rain bringing a risk of localised flooding on Wednesday and Thursday.
Scotland and Northern Ireland are likely to be relatively drier with some sunshine, although there will be some showers at times – possibly heavy.
Looking further ahead for the remainder of May, the mixed trend is set to continue. Whilst I don’t think it’ll be continually wet like April, there’ll still be some wind and rain at times interspersed with drier, brighter interludes.