Media Information

Comment on recent events

Reports of recent severe weather often include specialist comment, particularly so in newspapers. Some reporters already request TORRO to provide comment, although in most instances reporters contact the nearest weather centre or their forecast provider. However, most forecasters will have only a little (or even no) knowledge in the areas in which TORRO specialises, so the resulting printed comment is often misleading or even, on occasion, completely erroneous. TORRO Directors and Executives are able to provide accurate and comprehensive information, thus helping to properly inform the reader.

Feature articles and programmes

TORRO Directors and Executives are also occasionally involved with special features, whereby an editor or producer decides to devote an article or programme to some aspect of severe weather. Sometimes special features are prompted by severe weather that occurred in their readers' or listeners' catchment area a few weeks before (and by which time reasonably comprehensive information is likely to have been collected on the event(s) by TORRO).

Contacting TORRO

To contact TORRO staff members please use our Contact Form.

Useful facts about tornadoes

Please credit TORRO when using the below information for your reports.
  • "Mini tornado" is not a recognised expression and is not used by any research or scientific body. Tornado is a name given to describe a weather phenomenon. The correct terminology is "tornado" regardless of size, strength, location or attributes.
  • A tornado is a violently rotating column of air pendulant from a cumuliform cloud. Formed by an updraught injesting boundary layer with vorticity and stretching it.
  • Tornadoes revolve both anticlockwise and clockwise, in both the northern and southern hemisphere. This is because they are too small to be affected by the Coriolis force (the means by which the Earth's rotation deflects winds around high and low pressure areas). However anticlockwise tornadoes are more prevalent in the northern hemisphere but this is due to storm mechanisms and not the Earths rotation.
  • Based on the 30 year average, 36 tornadoes occur each year in the UK. Though the figure will often vary somewhat when considering each individual year.
  • One of Britain's two most severe tornadoes destroyed the church of St. Mary le Bow and 600 homes in central London on 23rd October 1091. Four of the church's 26-foot long rafters were reportedly driven so hard into the ground that only four feet of them was visible.
  • Also on 12th September 1810, a T8 tornado on the Tornado Intensity Scale travelled from Old Portsmouth to Southsea Common. An eyewitness spoke of the lead roof of a bank being "rolled up like a piece of canvas and blown away".
  • The Tay Bridge rail disaster in Scotland, on 28th December 1879 was caused by waterspouts. Eyewitnesses saw two or three close to the bridge, immediately before seeing the glowing embers from the engine fall into the River Tay, which are believed to have cut the bridge after the pre-existing high winds and poor construction weakened it.
  • Never try to outrun a tornado even in a car; Nor should you try to punch through the eye of a storm. If the tornado is close get out of the vehicle and shelter in a solid building. Tornadoes can change direction suddenly and can outrun vehicles. If you are caught out in the open seek the lowest point on the ground such as a gully or ditch and lie face down as flat as you can. Close your eyes tightly and cover your ears with your hands.

  • The United States gets around 800 reported tornadoes in an average year. This figure is based over a 30 year period.
  • On 3 & 4 April 1974, 144 tornadoes touched down in 13 American states. It was the largest outbreak in US history, leaving 330 dead and 5,000 injured.
  • Americas's greatest death toll from a single tornado was the "tri-state" tornado of 18 March 1925, which travelled 219 miles through Missouri, Illinois and Indiana, leaving 695 dead and 2,027 injured.