Storm Gerrit: When was the last tornado in the UK?

The weather forecaster predicted “potential impacts for much of the UK” amid winds up to 80 mph. 

People travelling home after Christmas celebrations with loved ones have been affected by the storm with heavy rain and winds causing delays to road, rail, air and ferry transport.

Train operator LNER, which runs services between London and Scotland on the East Coast Main Line, advised customers not to travel due to the weather.

Customers stranded by the disruption were told to book hotels which they can claim back.

A major incident was declared on the A9 in the Scottish Highlands, Police Scotland said, which had to close after drivers reported being stuck for hours in heavy traffic on the snow-covered road.

The Met Office reported a “supercell thunderstorm” across Greater Manchester last night (December 27).

In the post on its official X (formerly Twitter) account, it added: “We know from our Dopplar radar that it had a strong rotating updraft. Whilst we don’t yet have surface data to confirm, the presence of these features suggests a tornado at the surface was likely.”

Is Storm Gerrit a tornado?

With Storm Gerrit causing damage, travel disruption and danger to life, you might be wondering if it is a tornado.

It is important to note that there are no tornado warnings currently in place.

If Storm Gerrit doesn’t currently qualify as a tornado – when was the last time the UK experienced one?

When was the last time the UK had a tornado?

Tornados are categorised using the International Tornado Intensity Scale (The T Scale) which ranks the event based on separate wind speed, track length, track width and track area, according to the Tornado and Storm Research Organisation (TORRO).

The last time the UK experienced a T7 tornado (strongly devastating winds) was December 8, 1954 when it hit Gunnersbury in London.

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Meanwhile, the most recent T6 tornado (moderately devastating) was on July 28, 2005 (rated T5-6) which hit Birmingham.

TORRO notes that the most intense tornado on record for the UK (and England) went through Welbourn, Wellingore, Navenby and Boothby Graffoe in Lincolnshire on October 23, 1666.

The Welbourn tornado has been rated at T8-9 with a reported maximum track width of 200m and a track length of 5km.

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