Tornado spotted in Midlands as Easter Monday weather worsens towards rain spell

A rare tornado was snapped spiraling over the Cotswolds countryside on Easter Monday as Midlands weather was expected to worsen this week. Ben Wakerley took the photograph at first light.

Ben said he watched the wind funnel on the Cotswolds horizon for around 15 minutes from his house near Cooper’s Hill. “I spotted it at 8.15am and it just disappeared around 8:45am,” said stunned Ben.

“I’ve heard that we get quite a few tornadoes – but have never seen one before. I think it was somewhere over Birdlip,” he told Gloucestershire Live.

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Tornadoes are funnels of wind normally formed from thunderstorms and are usually found in central America. The UK has around 30 tornadoes a year but they are usually small and don’t have much impact.

If they do pass over built up areas they can cause considerable damage and even injuries from fallen debris, such as in Birmingham in 2005. During that tornado, 19 people were injured and it caused an estimated £40million of damage in just over ten minutes after striking Small Heath and other suburbs, tearing up more than 1,000 trees.

Ben Wakerley photographed this tornado from his house near Cooper’s Hill.

The tornado came as the Met Office has been warned that weather in the Midlands is set to worsen this week. Met Office forecasts for Birmingham say today (Easter Monday) will be cloudy with a high of 14C and a low of 8C. Light rain is expected in Birmingham on Tuesday, April 19, when temperatures are set to peak at 12C with a low of 7C.

Officially the spinning vortex needs to touch the ground to be classed as a true tornado and once this happens they usually travel across land.

On November 23, 1981 a cold front across England and Wales, in a record breaking 105 short-lived and weak tornadoes.

Devastating scenes from when a tornado hit Small Heath near Morrisons and St Andrews in 2005
Devastating scenes from when a tornado hit Small Heath near Morrisons and St Andrews in 2005

The Met Office website says people in the UK have little to worry about. It reads: “Some areas prone to tornado outbreaks, such as the Central USA, have tornado warning procedures, shelters and educational programs with the aim of minimizing risk to life.

“The UK has little need of tornado warnings, however the Met Office actively works with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the USA to improve the science of tornado forecasts and to improve warnings.”


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