Two tornadoes cut through Shropshire as Britain’s great summer washout turned violent.
Terrified Kate O’Connor captured the tornadoes on camera as they headed towards her Shrewsbury home – fearing they could wreck the house as they ripped through.
Kate, of Belle Vue, said the twisters appeared within minutes of each other on Monday night and were clearly visible from her house in Scott Street.
“It was about 8.25pm and hail had started coming down,” she said. “There was a massive funnel cloud and I got a picture of it just as it started dispersing. Then there was a second one about two minutes later.”
She said it had been a frightening experience. “To be honest, the first one I saw was so big I thought ‘if that touches down, I’m not going to have a house left’. I was hysterical. But the second one was more intriguing. It was probably a couple of miles away, it looked like over Meole Brace.
“I just wondered if anyone else saw it. I put it on Facebook and people were saying it is crazy and they couldn’t believe it. It is not the type of thing you expect to see in Shrewsbury.”
Tornadoes are formed by violent, rotating columns of air which extend from the heart of a thunderstorm to the ground.
The most violent twisters are capable of tremendous destruction with wind speeds of up to 300mph.
Britain has more reported tornadoes than any other country apart form the Netherlands relative to its size, but most remain weak and do little damage.
The strongest recorded tornado in this country hit Portsmouth in December 1810 and reached speeds of up to 240mph.
Massive storm clouds have gathered across Shropshire and Mid wales throughout the week, with huge thunderstorms created over the Wrekin.
The torrential downpours also sparked flooding in Ford, near Shrewsbury.
Environment Agency officials visited a house in the early hours of Tuesday morning, to check on the safety of residents after flood water surrounded a property.
The Environment Agency said the weather for the rest of the week looked unsettled with heavy showers expected particularly today and tomorrow as the period of unseasonably wet weather that has brought flooding up and down the country drags on.
Spokeswoman Catherine Ellis said: “This could cause some river and surface water flooding in places, and there is a possibility we may need to issue some flood alerts and warnings.
“We continue to monitor the situation closely and our teams are out helping on the ground, where they are needed.
“As the ground is saturated, we urge people to remain vigilant and prepared for possible flooding. For the latest, please check our website, twitter (@envagencymids) and facebook feeds. If anyone is concerned about flooding they can also call our floodline number on 0845 988 1188.”
Rivers Tern, Perry, Roden, Strine and Meese and their tributaries, and the River Lugg, south of Leominster, remain on flood alert. And officials are continuing to monitor the unseasonably high levels on the River Severn throughout Shropshire.
The Met Office said today would start off with sunny intervals with cloud increasing from the South-West towards the middle of the afternoon with more rain expected in south Shropshire. The rain will continue to push North-East tomorrow. The spokesman said although there would only be 10-15mm of rain it was falling on already saturated ground.
Saturday there could be some surface water flooding with scattered showers before clearing.
It comes as one business in Ironbridge said it had lost thousands of pounds in trade due to the continued wet weather.
Ironbridge Canoe Hire and Sales said it had lost about £20,000 this summer and had been forced to cancel seven out of eight trips over the past eight weeks after heavy rain made the River Severn too dangerous for tourists.
Vic Haddock, who runs the company, said he feared he would have to cancel more trips this week. He added: “The weather has had a dramatic effect on our turnover this year.
“I am worried about the business. You cannot justify losses all the while, it’s just not possible. Everybody has a budget and it is not a bottomless pit.
“We hire canoes out to people on unguided trips but the river is too high and too dangerous for amateurs. It has cost us something in the region of £20,000.”