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No. 45: May-Jun 1986

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Some English Meteorological Anomalies

August 16, 1985. Annesley Woodhouse, England. A "scorching" tornado.

"What was interesting about the storm was not only the damage it caused, but also the type of damage. After touching down the tornado uprooted a large oak tree, 15 metres high, in Lawn Road (luckily the residents of the house were away on a holiday). The tornado proceeded to rip tiles off several roofs, demolished completely several greenhouses, and next scorched a 4-metre section of gable on the south side of a house in Forest Street (number 9). The gable section was scorched so badly that the gable had already been repainted when I called, although the evidence could still be seen."

(Matthews, Peter; "Lightning inside a Tornado?" Journal of Meteorology, U.K., 10:375, 1985.)

July 1, 1952. Nottingham, England. Unusual features of a spectacular thunderstorm.

Some recently reviewed records of a great thunderstorm mention two interesting anomalies:

  1. Hailstones 2 inches long shaped like cigarettes
  2. Three successive balls of lightning corkscrewing down from the sky.

(Meaden, George T.; "Cigarette-Shaped Hailstones and Spiral Descent of Ball Lightning," Journal of Meteorology, U.K., 10:332, 1985.)

Reference. The foregoing anomalies are discussed in our Catalog of Anomalies. See GWT2 in Tornados, Dark Days for tornado burning and dehydration and GWP for oddly shaped hailstones in the same volume. Ball lightning is cataloged in GLB in Lightning, Auroras. Both books are described more fully here.

Funnel of the 1955 tornado at Blackwell, Oklahoma The funnel of the 1955 tornado at Blackwell, Oklahoma, was lit up like a neon tube. Cloud-to-earth electrical currents could be the cuase of the scorching reported above.

From Science Frontiers #45, MAY-JUN 1986. 1986-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987