CELL 1 - 14.08 - ELECTRIFIED MULTICELL An
active occluded front powered northwards across the country from the south
overnight. It was supposed to give thundery rain, however it fizzled out as
it reached the North Midlands. However a small trough formed behind it as
the occluded front stalled over Northern England. A very thin line of
thundery cells swept up from the SW across Macclesfield and the surrounding
They were steadily active and the cell that passed over Macclesfield giving
some low-amp C-C overhead and high-amp C-G over the Pennines in the distance
to the east, but it was what was to follow a couple of hours later that
caught my attention.
Dundee Satellite VIS image 1444Z
CELL 2 - 16:30 - DEVELOPING MESOCYCLONE I decided to tie this next
event in with the T0027 cell cluster, even though it occurred a few hours
later in a separate cell, because I didn't observe any lightning activity.
What I did observe was a dark
mass of fast moving low cloud was developing at an alarming rate to the NW
of Macclesfield at 16:30, and the clouds around it were moving in all
directions. It became obvious that a classic supercell-like mesocyclone was
in progress which is shown clearly when watching time-lapsed footage of the
twisted motion of the cloud. The whole area was swiftly developing so I
trained my camera on it. No thunder or lightning was observed from the cell
at this time.
Low cloud close to Macclesfield was moving in a southerly direction while
the mesocyclone drifted NE. Bizarre swirls of low cloud began forming in the
local skies. As I watched the mesocyclone twist, with my camera trained on
it, the leading updraft seem to go completely vertical and I saw condensing
cloud masses start to form under it. It appeared like a tornadic funnel
coming together. It was in a similar position as the tornado spawned from
T0014 the previous year 1998.
The funnel kept dissipating and reforming itself, until a second swirl of
condensation started to form to the right of the primary, this time starting
from the ground up and appeared to be a bit closer than the first. I zoomed
the camera into the touchdown area and could see pronounced multiple-vortex
features as it wriggled about along the surface; also a distinct funnel was
just about visible leading into the parent mesocyclone. The primary funnel
at this time was still just about visible.
Double-click to run this video of the
tornado sequence x5 time-lapse (embedded from
(Macromedia Flash Player is
required to view this video)
About 6 minutes after the second touchdown both funnels ascended into the
cloud. By this time the storm was moving behind trees and further NE away
from Macclesfield, and new storm cells developed a bit closer and passed
within 10 miles away. No thunder was heard during this whole event from this
storm cell, but heavy rain curtains and huge arcus clouds were observed soon
afterwards as the cell continued its progress in the northern horizon.
Tornadoes or Funnels Argument
Like T0014, I have had these videos shown on the internet for public
witness. There has been much criticism about whether they are “tornadoes” or
“funnels”, mostly from the US stating a funnel becomes a tornado when you
see it lifting debris, which is not necessarily true. A funnel cloud doesn’t
have to appear to be lifting huge amounts of debris from the ground, so as
long as it is actually influencing winds on the ground into a strong vortex.
I think in the case of the T0027 funnels, viewing sufficient debris lifted
from unpopulated pasteurised land at a few miles distance would be
challenging! The footage clearly shows the primary and secondary
condensation funnels connecting all the way to the surface. If you were to
stand directly underneath them there is a high chance you would have felt
the vortex, therefore these are tornadoes.
in summary a beast of a rare event for the UK had just been documented. Two
tornadoes, in the UK, without having to even chase them, one being a
multi-vortex…. what are the odds?! Has a multi-vortex ever been documented
in the UK? Am I the first? I would like to hear from anyone who has
previously documented UK tornadoes for discussion.
DISCUSS THESE TORNADOES IN THE SITE FORUM