Was there actually a tornado?

Was there actually a tornado?

Thu, 17/11/2016 - 16:27
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There have been reports of tornadoes across Wales and the Midlands over the last few hours, however there have been no actual sightings of a tornado or even any funnel clouds. 

Today’s weather conditions have bought a narrow band of squally showers, hail and damaging gusts as the front tracked eastwards across the UK through the course of Thursday morning and afternoon. As the cold front tracked eastwards, a band of squally showers saw skies quickly darken and wind speeds suddenly increased with it feeling much cooler behind the showers, especially in the strength of the wind. 

Wind speeds gusted up to 94mph at Aberystwyth lifeboat station in Wales at 10:30am this morning and reached 84mph in Shawbury, Shropshire. Wind speeds exceeding 90mph are the same as those that categorise a T3 tornado (the T scale is ranked from 0 to 10 and is directly related to the Beaufort Scale), however there does not necessarily need to be a tornado for these wind speeds to occur.

With wind gusts exceeding 90mph, you would expect mobile homes to be overturned, roofs of buildings left exposed, large tress snapped or uprooted and even reports of buildings physically shaking. Photos across social media are illustrating the damage, showing roofs ripped off houses, caravans overturned and even a trampoline on the roof of a bungalow in Milford Haven in Wales. 

The Met Office and Meteogroup both have said they are yet to confirm reports that a tornado had hit the area, although analysis into the atmospheric conditions shows that there was the potential for small tornadoes. Cold air aloft moved over the relatively warm sea surface, resulting in the air rising quickly, creating an unstable atmosphere. Radar images also show a ‘hook’ feature as the front moved across mid-Wales; a shape that indicates spinning air in the atmosphere and an effect needed for the air to rotate and potentially form small tornadoes. However, without any site investigations, we cannot confirm any tornadoes have occurred, and it is most likely straight line wind damage. 

TORRO are interested in hearing about any damage you have seen, and details such as where and when. Please report via their website here.