22 April 2024

Did Salisbury almost have a tornado today?

Amongst the dark clouds earlier in Salisbury today, local resident Christian spotted what looked like a tornado trying to form.

What looks like a tornado funnel is coming down from the clouds above the trees on the edge of the Ashley Road green space.

Last year, there was a weather warning for possible tornados in southern England, so they can form here, though more common in parts of the US.

Image: Christian Butler

There were also sightings north of Salisbury of with this amazing photo taken at Stonehenge and shared with us on Facebook.

Image: Source Unknown

What is a tornado?

According to National Geographic, tornadoes form when warm, humid air collides with cold, dry air.

The denser cold air is pushed over the warm air, usually producing thunderstorms. The warm air rises through the colder air, causing an updraft. The updraft will begin to rotate if winds vary sharply in speed or direction.

As the rotating updraft, a mesocycle, draws in warm air from the moving thunderstorm, its rotation speed increases. Cool air fed by the jet stream, a strong band of wind in the atmosphere, provides even more energy.

Water droplets from the mesocyclone’s moist air form a funnel cloud. The funnel continues to grow and eventually descends from the cloud. When it touches the ground, it becomes a tornado.

Image: Christian Butler

Christian wasn’t the only local person to spot the cloud formation. Donna Arnold also managed to grab a shot from Salisbury Distric Hospital, which shows the spiral clearly descending from the clouds.

Image: Donna Arnold

Whilst the cloud feature isn’t a tornado, as it needs to reach the land to become a tornado, it certainly looks like a funnel cloud extending from the larger cloud.

If you have images of these clouds, please send them to hello@salisburyradio.co.uk

Written by
Andy Munns
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Written by Andy Munns