Britain is the tornado capital of the world. It has more tornadoes per square mile than any other country in the world. Luckily for us, our tornadoes are usually smaller than those reported in places such as "Tornado Alley" in the United States, where tornadoes are so huge that the US is often mistakenly believed by people to be the world's tornado capital. But even Tornado Alley has less tornadoes than Britain.

Britain has been put on tornado alert after twisters hit several parts of the country, causing minor damage and even lifting ponies into the air.....

Tornado leaves trail of destruction in village

28th November 2006

UK put on tornado alert

28th November 2006

Destruction: A horse box is overturned after a tornado hit Boarhunt, Hampshire

Weather experts put Britain on tornado alert today.

The Tornado and Storm Research Organisation (Torro) issued a warning at 12.55am of isolated severe thunderstorms or weak tornadoes over the next few days - known as a convective discussion.

The warning, published on Torro's website, applies to parts of south-west England, East Wales, south Wales and much of southern, central and eastern England.

It said: "The highest tornado risk would appear to be along and close to the south coast."

On Saturday a tornado wreaked havoc in the village of Boarhunt in Hampshire.

It flattened sheds and greenhouses, brought down power lines and ripped the roof off a mobile home, causing thousands of pounds of damage.

Torro, which is based in Oxford, issues three levels of warning of severe weather, convective outlook; convective discussion; and severe thunderstorm and tornado watches.

It stopped short of issuing the highest level of alert - a convective outlook - because it deemed the likelihood of severe, widespread thunderstorms was "rather marginal".

Rachel Vince, forecaster at the MeteoGroup UK, said: "We have had reports of a tornado near Portsmouth on Saturday.

"The main concern is general wind and heavy rain through the next 24 to 48 hours."

More than 20 properties were affected by what is believed to have been a tornado in the early hours of this morning.

Emergency services were called to Bowstreet in Aberystwyth, West Wales, shortly after 2am. A spokesman for Dyfed Powys Police said: "It was apparent that what is believed to be a tornado had struck parts of the village.

"Commercial and residential premises, vehicles and caravans were damaged."

He added that nobody was thought to have been injured.

Mid and West Wales Fire Service also attended and said the high winds had affected 23 properties in the area.

Crews were involved in making damaged roofs and chimneys safe until about 6am.

The main road through Bow Street, the A487, was closed while the properties were made safe and the highways authority cleared debris.

The railway track behind the properties was also closed due to fallen trees and debris on the line. The police spokesman added: "A further, more detailed assessment of the full extent of the damage caused will be achieved at first light.

"Police officers are remaining in the area overnight to provide high visibility policing and public reassurance."
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A tornado has struck a quiet village, causing thousands of pounds of damage and reportedly lifting three ponies into the air.

The twister occurred on Saturday in Boarhunt, Hampshire, flattening sheds and greenhouses, uprooting trees, knocking over horseboxes, bringing down power lines and ripping the roof off a mobile home.

Firefighter Paul Crouch, who attended the scene, said the tornado had left a 33 yard (30 metre) trail of devastation.

A man inspects the damage after a tornado rips through Boarhunt, Hampshire. Britain is the tornado capital of the world.

"It caused some damage for about 30 metres and there were reports of a horses being flung into the air but I didn't see that," he said.

Paul Collins, 54, who owns three ponies he keeps at Boarhunt, said he was taking shelter from the storm when his truck moved 25 feet (eight metres) as the tornado struck and he saw his animals take off.

He told the Portsmouth News: "I looked into the field and my three ponies were 10 to 12 feet (three metres) in the air and just flopped to the ground. Luckily with all the rain the ground was soft and muddy so when they landed they just kind of skidded along a bit.

"I watched a whole roof and all sorts of things swirling around about in the tornado, which was twice the height of the trees. It picked up everything and just threw it." No-one was injured in the incident.

Donald Stubbington, 77, was shopping with his wife when the tornado damaged roof tiles on their bungalow.

He said: "There has been extensive damage but fortunately no-one was hurt. I think it has been blown a bit out of proportion but I did not see it. We are pleased we are OK and the house is being fixed."

Tony Gilbert of the Tornado and Storm Research Organisation in Oxford said the twister left a damage track across the village half a metre long and more than 70 metres wide.

He said the tornado would be classed as a three on a scale of one to 10 with winds up to 114 mph.

"It's a pretty standard and not unusual in the UK as the majority of tornados here are within this strength range," he said.

"What I am surprised but happy about is there were not injuries as there was a lot of flying debris about and one brick garage was moved several inches."

Mr Gilbert said the tornado would have moved at about 65mph across the land and would have easily picked up the ponies in the four minutes it existed.

Over the past 30 years the mean average of tornados reported in the UK was 33 a year, he said.

There was a possibility that weather conditions for tornados would exist again tomorrow afternoon in south west and central southern England, he added.
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Mass clean-up after tornado rips through village

Last updated at 14:49pm on 28th November 2006

The tornado hit the village around 2am. Damage estimated in the tens of thousands of pounds

Residents in a village hit overnight by a mini tornado were counting the cost today of the devastation caused to their homes.

Damage estimated in the tens of thousands of pounds saw roofs partially ripped off, chimney damages, fencing destroyed and trees and bushes flattened.

The mini tornado hit the village of Bowstreet, north of Aberystwyth, in Ceredigion, west Wales at around 2am.

With a lull in the extreme weather today the village was a hive of activity as workmen, utility staff, council officers, friends and family rallied round to make urgent repairs.

"I was woken up by a large crash and there was what looked like a huge red glowing fireball at the window about twice the size of a person's head," said pensioner Georgina Jones, 86.

"Then there was an enormous bang and water came pouring into the house. My husband and I had to move the bed and get buckets to catch the water. We were up all night."

Her modern home is at the end of a row of three houses and she discovered this morning that the protective felt on its flat roof had been partially ripped off allowing teeming rain to cascade into the home.

"It was frightening, it was coming through the light fittings, everywhere. My husband is 86 and he was absolutely petrified.

"He had a slight heart attack some years ago and he looked pale and shaken this morning."

Despite the damage to his home husband Roland Jones was up and out first thing to help his son whose village car sales business had also been badly hit.

"There are about 70 cars here and we have lost the keys to them all, the registration documents have all gone too," he said.

"The keys were kept in a heavy steel cabinet which we found empty about a quarter of a mile away."

He added: "These premises back onto the train line but normally it's screened by bushes and trees.

"They have all gone now and so has a 5,000 building that we had shipped in here to use as an office.

"Hardly anything remains but miraculously none of the cars have been damaged. This is bad news for any business but we do intend to carry on."


Studies by the Tornado and Storm Research Organisation (TORRO) have shown that Britain has the highest frequency of tornadoes for size of country in the world.

The strongest tornado ever recorded in Britain hit Plymouth in 1810. It was reported to have reached 213mph.

In May 1950, a tornado left a 100-mile trail of damage from Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, to Blakeney in Norfolk, and in 1971 astonished witnesses saw a local twister move a 90-ton railway engine 50 metres along the track.

In January, 1998, a ferocious 100mph twister caused 10 million of damage when it hit the Sussex seaside town of Selsey, which was again struck two years later. More recently, in December, a handful of streets were struck by a mini tornado in Haverfordwest, south Wales, although neighbouring roads were unaffected.

Last October a 57-year-old holidaymaker died after being struck by a falling tree near Corfe Castle railway station in Dorset. Pamela Hudson became the first person to die in Britain as a result of a tornado since 1913.

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