Tornado in Newcastle-under-Lyme

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Paul Swinhoe
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Tornado in Newcastle-under-Lyme

Post by Paul Swinhoe » Thu Apr 28, 2016 7:41 am

After an afternoon of sunny intervals an increasingly squally showers of hail, sleet and snow, a thunderstorm occurred between 1645 and 1705 GMT on Tuesday 26th April 2016, right over the COL station, with some very bright lightning, low over the house, and torrential soft hail, then snow. Some of the hail was up to 2 cm in its long axis and over 1 cm on the shorter axes. The hail drove in from the west smashing against the windows of the house, then abruptly changed direction to the north east.

Only 500 metres from the station a tornado roared through parts of Wolstanton and May Bank (suburbs of the town). It took at NNW - SSE track, touching down at various points along a length of around 1 km. Severe damage was caused to roofs and a 2 metre high brick wall was blown over. At Saint Wulstan's Catholic church an alloy coal bunker was lifted up and thrown over a car into the garden 15 metres away. Cars were also damaged by falling debris, but nobody was reported injured. Elsewhere along the track of the storm garden trampolines were lifted and thrown 50 metres and fragments of a fence were found 200 metres from its origin.

Photos of the damage appeared in the local paper and the event was reported on BBC TV's Midlands Today. Entering "tornado wolstanton" into Google will bring up newspaper and BBC coverage, facebook and several other pages covering the event. Having walked along and around the track of tornado, I would estimate around £100,000 of damage has been inflicted on the area.

From the damage observed, the core of the tornado seems to have been less than 20 metres in diameter, but the overall rotary circulation possibly reaching 1 km. On the Fujita scale it would only rank as zero I think!

Snow and soft hail still lay in grassy, shaded places and folds in roofs the following morning, but not covering the critical 50% of the ground by 0900 GMT, so not a snow day!
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