Britain has more tornadoes per square mile than any other country.

And now today's weather: a mudslide and tornado

18th August 2006

The mudslide in the village of Gulval, near Penzance, Cornwall (top) and the tornado (below) which was spotted forty minutes later.

A county was struck by a mudslide and a tornado within the space of an hour as extreme storms ravaged Britain.

First a foot deep deluge of soil and water swept through the village of Gulval, near Penzance, in Cornwall during a torrential downpour.

Firefighters were called as the wall of mud surged down from a nearby field, blocking the main street and streaming into houses.

Forty minutes later, as the storm raged on, a tornado was spotted spinning over Penzance.

The whirlwind was captured on camera by property developer, Adam Gibbard, as it made its way over buildings in the seaside town.

He said: 'It was all very quick. I was just shooting pictures of the cloud formations at the time, and when I saw it I just thought, 'what's that?'

'It was like a tropical storm with lightning.'

Thankfully the tornado did not cause any damage, though the same could not be said of the mudslide, which took 12 firefighters several hours to clear up.

Eyewitness Rob Bowden said: 'There was a massive amount of mud. It washed down a field and flowed down the road.

'It went down towards people's houses and it was about a foot deep in the worst places.

'It ran down the sides of the houses and into back gardens.'

The Met Office reported other sightings of tornados in Lincolnshire and Warwickshire as storms lashed the country on Thursday afternoon.

The violent weather contrasted sharply with the baking heatwave most of Britain enjoyed last month. The South of England is currently enduring the worst drought for decades with millions of households suffering from hosepipe bans.

Yesterday the Mail told how a freak tornado in Baston, South Lincolnshire, hurled a steel cargo container into the air and dragged it along for 70ft as five archeologists sheltered inside.

Meanwhile a baby was thrown 10 feet across a bedroom after a bolt of lightning struck a home in Kidderminster, Worcestershire.

Kate Saunders, 26, and her one-year-old son Dylan were sent flying when the thunderbolt struck the roof of their home, ripping every plug out of its electric supply socket and destroying the television, DVD player and video recorder.

Miss Saunders said: 'It was the most terrifying thing I had ever seen.

'One minute I was stripping the wallpaper and the next myself and Dylan were blown across the room.

'It sounded like a bomb blast and there was a black mark left on my wall.'

The bad weather continued yesterday with heavy rain and thunderstorms across large swathes of the country.

Police in Doncaster said cars were left stranded in water on the main Bawtry Road route into the town centre and two houses in the nearby village of Finningley were damaged after being hit by lightning.

Paul Knightley, from PA WeatherCentre, predicted more thunderstorms across the northern England and Scotland over the weekend. The south will see some sunshine, but this will also be interspersed with showers.

He said: 'It's going to be a mucky weekend, and there isn't likely to be an improvement in the weather until the middle of next week.'

Met Office meteorologist John Hammond said the combination of warm weather and short sharp showers had created ideal tornado conditions.

He said: 'Sunshine and showers, along with areas of low pressure nearby with warm ground that creates the rising air currents that can lead to tornados.'

18th August 2006

A MINI tornado struck in March, Cambridgeshire yesterday (Thursday), and residents were quick to grab their cameras.

The black funnel followed a thunderstorm across the town at around 10.30 am and ripped across rooftops.

A spokesman for the Met Office said: "These pictures show a funnel cloud, which is a tornadic development that doesn't make contact with the ground.

Dave Jones was out in Turves trainspotting when he saw the tornado on the horizon.

"It was a bit of a surprise but it made a change from photographing trains," he said. "It wasn't really frightening - just spectacular."

No damage was reported in Fenland but the tornado eventually lifted a portable building into the air at Baston, on Cambridgeshire's border with Lincolnshire, injuring five people including archaeology students who were taking shelter from the storm.

The Met Office spokesman added that the weather conditions were "just right" for this phenomenon to occur.

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Tornado lifts up 5 archaeologists

Five Hurt By Freak Tornado
Friday August 18, 2006

This tornado carried 5 archaeologists.

Five archaeologists are recovering after being hurt when a freak tornado blew over their makeshift canteen during a storm.

The twister struck as they were sheltering inside the portable building, throwing it around.

One witness said it lifted planks of wood and sheets of metal, almost 200ft into the air.

Four of the archaeologists were taken to Peterborough District Hospital with minor injuries.

A fifth member of the team, from Northamptonshire Archaeology, was treated at the scene.

The archaeologists and students were working in a quarry at Baston Fen in Lincolnshire.

A spokeswoman for the firm which owns the site, said: "There was a Portakabin-type building which was being used for a canteen.

"There was what looks like a mini-tornado which picked it up and it turned over quite a few times."

Youth worker Denham Hughes, 42, saw the tornado develop from his home in the nearby village of Langtoft.

He told the Daily Mirror: "It went very dark and got a bit scary. I could see sheets of metal and planks being sucked up 200ft."

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England has more tornadoes per square kilometre than any other country.