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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