A combination of unstable upper air, heavy downpours and strong gusty winds peaking at 84mph (in Shropshire) earlier produced ‘tornadic’ winds across Wales and the West Midlands earlier this afternoon. Reports of actual tornadoes remain unconfirmed by the Met Office and tornado and storm organisation TORRO. Tornadoes or tornadic winds occur when we have particularly squally (or windy and wet) conditions,

where strong wind sheer at the ground meets a strong updraft (due to unstable air and downpours) shooting up into the atmosphere. The winds then become a powerful, destructive rotating column of air – extending skyward while maintaining contact with the ground. The UK is no stranger to tornadoes – around 30 are reported every year – but don’t always affect populated, urban areas. READ MORE