‘Tornado’ reportedly hits Widnes in Cheshire with buildings damaged and trees uprooted

‘Perfectly plausible’ that disruptive weather was tornado, says Met Office meteorologist

Tom Batchelor
Wednesday 20 October 2021 17:29
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Clean-up underway after tornado rips though Cheshire town

A “mini tornado” is believed to have hit the Cheshire town of Widnes with residents complaining of damaged buildings and uprooted trees.

Footage shared on social media showed garden furniture, sections of fence and brick wall scattered in the road –and roof tiles apparently torn from the tops of houses.

Annie Shuttleworth, a meteorologist at the Met Office, said while the agency could not definitively confirm that it was a tornado that caused the damage, it was “likely” that was the case.

She told The Independent: “It is perfectly plausible from this active convective weather system that it was a tornado, which also produces a number of convective hazards including strong gusts and lightning.”

The tornado was reported to have developed at around midday on Wednesday at a time when a thunderstorm warning was in place for the area.

But Ms Shuttleworth said a lack of imagery meant it was not possible to say that there had been a tornado with 100 per cent certainty.

“We can’t officially confirm it due to lack of imagery but as the area was within a thunderstorm warning throughout the morning we think it likely occurred around midday today,” she said.

“It is perfectly likely that it could have been a tornado, but we can’t confirm the actual event specifically because we don’t have imagery that fully supports it.”

Video shared on Twitter showed the damage caused. One user wrote: “Anyone else near to #Sunnybank in #Widnes just see or experience a #tornado??? No I’m not messing!”

Another said: “Just drove through the aftermath! Incredible!!! Crazy!!” A third tweeted: “I’m in Warrington and my roof is damaged!”

Marco Petagna, who describes himself as a senior operational meteorologist with the UK Met Office, tweeted: “Signs a mini #tornado may have hit #Widnes in Cheshire today..yesterday evening @TorroUK issued a risk of these forming.”

Paul Knightley, whose Twitter bio says he is a “professional meteorologist”, wrote: “Possible #tornado in #Widnes this lunchtime - this radar grab at 1215BST shows the cell responsible - this continued along the purple line to Holmfirth - it has now become somewhat weaker.”

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