The report above appeared in the Northern Echo newspaper on 29th May 2019.
The axis of funnel clouds may be vertical, inclined (as seen here), or sometimes long and sinuous. In the UK it is usually tens of metres in diamater (not huge). It is much rarer for funnel clouds to touch the ground and that is when they become tornadoes, but it does happen occasionally. Most UK tornado reports come from The Midlands, Central, Southern and South East England and East Anglia. Our very own Tornado Alley!
If you see a funnel cloud or suspected tornado, you should report it to TORRO (Tornado and Storm Research Organisation). They catalog such stuff and produce stats and mapping.
There are 40 tornadoes per year recorded on average in the UK. England has the highest reported incidence of tornadoes per square mile in the World. That usually surprises a few people, but it’s true!
The longest ground track by a tornado in the UK was in May 1950, when a tornado traveled 107km from Buckinghamshire to Cambridgeshire.
This photo was posted to Facebook recently, taken (we think) in December 1895. It shows people sweeping the ice on the river, perhaps preparing it for skating or maybe a curling competition. The location is just below Prebends Bridge.
December 1895 was one of the coldest Decembers ever recorded in Durham.
Noticeable is how little vegetation cloaks the slopes below the Cathedral. The building to the left of the photograph is the Old Fulling Mill.
Prebends Bridge can be seen in this photograph, everyone is skating!
April began quite cold, with some snow over high ground and even to lower levels in Durham. None of it lay on the ground, but the strong north westerly and northerly winds made it feel unseasonably cold. It gradually began to warm up by day, but cold at night before mid month.
It was quite wet in the first week, with 21.4mm falling in the period 2nd-4th, but then the weather turned dry and nothing was recorded at all in the period from the 8th to the 24th.
The weather peaked over the Easter weekend, with sunny fine conditions and real Spring warmth. Saturday 20th was the warmest, with 24.1 degC recorded. This was almost equalled on Palm Sunday (21st), with 23.6 degC. Unusually, conditions close to the coast also remained warm. By the following week, low pressure was in charge again and temperatures dropped back to normal for late April.
Overall, the mean temperature was marginally above average, but rainfall was way below normal, with only around 60% of normal long term April rain recorded. Only 7 days had measurable rainfall, with 2nd and 3rd responsible for half the eventual monthly total.