How are tornadoes formed? Large parts of England set to be hit by weather event

How are tornadoes formed? Large parts of England set to be hit by weather event

A tornado warning has been issued for a large part of the UK for Thursday with rain and wind set to hit London.

Tornado and Storm Research Organisation (TORRO) has said that "misocyclones" could be felt in central England, East Anglia and the Midlands - and it also had the warning in place for Wednesday.

"A cold front will cross the area overnight and on Thursday, with one or more waves developing along it, in response to an upper short-wave trough,” a TORRO statement read.

“Several areas of precipitation should accompany this, with some embedded convection possible. This may organise into one or more lines, and perhaps some cellular activity too. The lines may include misocyclones, and a low-topped supercell or two is possible in any discrete convection.”

Last year, a tornado hit the Greater Manchester area as part of Storm Gerrit, causing destruction.

Tornadoes in the UK are more common than we think. According to the Met Office, around 30 tornadoes are reported across the British Isles each year.

As tornadoes usually need to be identified by humans, there's also a chance that more have taken place without us knowing.

How are tornadoes formed?

Tornadoes come in many shapes and sizes and are often formed during severe thunderstorms, sometimes known as supercell thunderstorms.

Differences in temperature between the atmosphere help this current of air spin, and then changing wind direction makes it rotate horizontally.

More wind then tilts the rotating air column downwards, leading to the formation of a tornado dropping down from the clouds.

Tornadoes can be slim or can be very wide in diameter, with the largest tornado being 2.6 miles wide.

In the UK, tornadoes usually only cause light damage and have weak power, unlike more reported incidents of tornadoes happening in the US.

Why does the UK have tornadoes?

According to The Conversation, the UK has three "tornado alleys".

A tornado alley is an area where cold and warm air clash, making it a prime spot for the creation of tornadoes. Most of these areas are located in southern England.

The most famous tornado alley runs down the center of the United States and is where most powerful tornadoes strike the US.

Scientists admitted that they still didn't quite know why the UK had such a high frequency of weak tornadoes. There's also a lot less research taking place on UK tornadoes in comparison to other regions like the US.

The Greater Manchester incident is one of the more severe tornadoes to hit the UK.

The Met Office said: “Around 30 tornadoes a year are reported in the UK. These are typically small and short-lived, but can cause structural damage if they pass over built-up areas.”