Weather: Tornadoes ‘not out of the question’ as wind and rain batters UK

Vehicles travel through standing water during heavy rain in Bromsgrove
Vehicles travel through standing water during heavy rain in Bromsgrove

Yellow warnings for wind and rain are in place over large parts of the west and elsewhere, and more are likely.

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Parts of the UK may have seen tornadoes on Sunday, the Met Office has said, as strong winds and rain batter the country.

Gusts of over 80mph have been recorded with reports of wind damage which caused major delays to travel out of London.

Hundreds of people, many travelling to Scotland for the Cop26 climate summit, were left waiting at Euston station after fallen trees caused all trains to be suspended.

The disruption came as a result of damage to overhead electrical wires between Rugby and Milton Keynes on the West Coast Main Line.

Yellow warnings for wind and rain are in place over large parts of the west and elsewhere, and more are likely.

Meteorologist Tom Morgan said the Met Office could not confirm any tornadoes but would not rule them out.

“We’ve got a deep Atlantic area of low pressure that’s bringing a very heavy band of rain and squalling winds across the whole of the country, but particularly in the south of England,” he said.

“We’ve seen some very strong gusts of wind on the south coast… and a few reports of damage from the winds.

“It’s not out of the question that there will have been some localised, brief funnel clouds or tornadoes.

“In the last couple of days we have seen some reports and seen some photos of funnel clouds and water spouts, which are similar to tornadoes.”

Tornadoes occur when funnel clouds extend from the cloud base to ground, Mr Morgan said.

He added that wind speeds of 87mph were recorded at an exposed location on the Isle of Portland in Dorset, and there were gusts of 60mph across Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire and Sussex.

“We can’t confirm that there have been any (tornadoes) but we have seen reports of wind damage,” Mr Morgan added.

“This kind of situation does lend itself to sometimes producing tornadoes so it’s something we can’t rule out and there is some evidence to suggest there have been some.”

Northamptonshire Police said they had received a high number of calls relating to the weather conditions and that trees had fallen on scores of roads in the county.

Reverend Richard Coles, vicar of Finedon, took to social media after a blustery close call.

“We were just praying for the COP26 conference in church when we were hit by what I can only describe as a tornado, which took out a number of trees including this pre Conquest yew,” he tweeted.

South Western Railway apologised to customers after trees blocked part of the network and said there may be cancellations, delays and alterations to services.