Britain could be braced for more thunder and lightning after a “special” type of storm swept across the country, bringing with it a tornado to some areas.
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Forecasters said there was a “definite chance” of further thunderstorm activity after an unusual “supercell” storm travelled through the south Midlands on Monday afternoon, bringing rain, large hailstones, and a tornado in Oxfordshire.
The thunderstorm started in Wiltshire, and moved across Oxfordshire – where a tornado was reported in several places including Bicester, Eynsham, and Kidlington – then moved to Buckinghamshire.
Richard Glazer drove through the tornado with his wife and son on the A34 near Kidlington, Oxfordshire. “It was very wet, we were just driving on the A34 and looked up and realised one part of the sky was moving in one direction and another in the opposite direction,” he said. “I thought, ‘that looks like a tornado!’ We pretty much drove through it, we were right underneath it. As we drove into it the trees were blowing left to right and as we got through it they were blowing the other way.”
Forecasters said it was almost certainly a tornado, and the storm that caused it was thought to be a supercell storm – more commonly seen in the US than the UK.
Brendan Jones, forecaster at MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said it was unlikely there would be another supercell storm in the coming week, as they require very specific atmospheric conditions. However, heavy rain has been predicted for much of the country, which could bring more thunder and lightning, Mr Jones said.
He continued: “It’s going to remain unsettled, there will be rain and showers around and there is a definite chance of more thunderstorm activity. This particular thunderstorm developed over the northern part of Wiltshire, and then gradually over the next three hours that storm tracked through Oxfordshire and into part of Buckinghamshire before eventually dying out before it got to Cambridgeshire. That’s quite far for one thunderstorm to track.
“At the moment it’s difficult to say exactly where the tornado was because while the parent thunderstorm travelled all the way across the south Midlands, it wasn’t necessarily producing a tornado all the time. There has been more than one report of a tornado beneath this storm. There has also been some quite big hailstones.”
He said the UK had seen plenty of reports of tornadoes and funnel clouds – which do not touch the ground – but not supercell storms, adding: “This one was fairly special.”
The storm comes less than two weeks after high winds tore through Rugby, Warwickshire, blowing the roof from one home and damaging others, described by some people as being like a “mini tornado”.
The Press Association