UK storm warning: Tornado threat as hurricane-force winds lash Britain in horror maps

Several days of weather warnings are in place across the UK and Ireland, as a dangerous storm system tracks across from the Atlantic. Storm Ellen was named by Met Eireann on Tuesday night and is forecast to impact Ireland, Northern Ireland, England and Wales tonight.

Forecasters are cautioning of fierce winds which could reach up to 75mph in some places, as well as torrential rain and hail.

Storm Ellen is the amalgamation of the remnants of Tropical Storm Kyle and other Atlantic weather systems and is an unseasonably strong extratropical cyclone.

Damaging winds and high swells are increasingly likely for Ireland, Wales, and England, as well as slow-moving storms with flooding threats across Balkans and eastern Europe.

Met Office Chief Meteorologist, Steve Ramsdale said: “Uncertainty remains high in the intensity of these systems at this point, but we are confident in the change to a spell of much windier weather.

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“Tropical air associated with a decayed tropical cyclone is being drawn towards the UK, and the marked contrast between this warm and moist air with normal North Atlantic air masses can lead to a very vigorous system.”

Up to two inches (50mm) of rain could be seen over higher ground in the space of six hours.

Deputy Chief Meteorologist, Matthew Lehnert said: “Along with the sometimes heavy rain, strong winds have the potential to cause impacts that are not common in August.

“With this spell of unsettled weather coinciding with trees in full leaf and a peak in the camping season, wind-related impacts are more likely at lower wind speeds compared to other times of the year, particularly across Northern Ireland where winds are forecast to be strongest”

Now forecasters are cautioning one side effect of the severe winds could be tornadoes.

Severe Weather Europe wrote in their latest advisory: “MDT/ENH risks have been issued for most of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Wales, and western-southwestern England with a threat for dangerous severe storms, capable of producing severe damaging winds, torrential rainfall, tornadoes, and marginal hail.”

The forecasters are also cautioning high-resolution models are showing high potential for the development of a sting jet wind maximum.

If a sting jet verifies, a very localised jet of extremely severe wind gusts could occur.

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SWE warn destructive winds in excess of 93 to 99mph are possible within the high-risk areas.

SWE wrote: “Hurricane-force winds will spread into the coast of southern Ireland.”

Drivers are being cautioned to take care as the severe winds could lead to dangerous conditions on the roads.

RAC Breakdown spokesperson Rod Dennis said: “This spell of autumnal-feeling weather is going to make driving conditions very unpleasant for a lot of us over the next few days.

“Strong winds will mean journeys by road will take longer than usual, and could be affected by fallen branches on the roads.

“Add in some very intense rainfall and drivers will need to take real care to complete their trips safely.

“We urge every driver heading out to make sure their car is up to the task to avoid a breakdown in the wind and rain, especially if they’re towing or taking a longer trip – in particular check the condition and pressure of all tyres before setting out.

“When driving, slow down and pay close attention to high-sided vehicles and other drivers with caravans and trailers to give yourself plenty of time to react should any run into difficulties.”

What is a tornado? Are they common in the UK?

A tornado is a destructive vortex of winds which can move along the ground at fast paces.

The rotating column of air is often seen across the United States, emerging from beneath large storms.

Many of the tornadoes seen in the UK are small and don’t wreak as much havoc as the US counterparts – however, they can occasionally be large.

The UK gets around 30 to 50 tornadoes a year, depending on the ferocity of storms.

In 2015, scientists from the University of Manchester estimated the area from Berkshire into London had the highest likelihood of a tornado, one every 17 years.

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