2005 Birmingham tornado
Damage caused by the Birmingham tornado
|Active as of||28 July 2005|
|Max rating1||F2 tornado|
|Duration of tornado outbreak2||Unknown|
1Most severe tornado damage; see Fujita scale2Time from first tornado to last tornado
The Birmingham tornado was one of the strongest tornadoes recorded in the United Kingdom in nearly 30 years, occurring on 28 July 2005 in the suburbs of Birmingham. It formed on a day when strong tornadoes were expected to develop across the Midlands and eastern England. The tornado struck at approximately 2.30pm BST in the Sparkbrook area of the city, also affecting King's Heath, Moseley and Balsall Heath as it carved a kilometre-long path through the city. Its main effects were felt in the Ladypool Road which bore the brunt of the damage. Ladypool Primary School was extensively damaged and lost its distinctive Martin & Chamberlain tower. The adjacent St Agatha's Church also suffered some damage. Christ Church (consecrated 1867), on the corner of Dolobran Road and Grantham Road in Sparkbrook was also damaged and has now been demolished.
The Met Office and TORRO (The Tornado and Storm Research Organisation) has estimated that the tornado had a general T4 rating on the TORRO scale with a short spell as a T5 tornado, which would mean wind speeds between 93 and 130 mph, equivalent to an F2 on the Fujita scale.
There were no fatalities, although there were approximately 19 injuries, three of which were reported to be serious. The tornado uprooted an estimated 1000 trees, removed the roofs of buildings, picked up and deposited cars and caused other damage during its short existence. The total cost of damage has been put at £40 million, making it the most costly tornado in British history.
While the United Kingdom has more reported tornadoes, relative to its land area, than any other country excluding the Netherlands, the vast majority are weak. The strongest recorded tornado in the country struck Portsmouth on 14 December 1810 with a T8 (F4) rating and a top wind speed of 213 to 240 mph.
Three months later, strong winds and driving rain brought a second tornado, which hit less than a mile away from the original twister. The Met Office said there were winds of up to 80 mph and it was strong enough to rip the roof off a corner house. Following this came widespread flooding across the region which brought havoc to Birmingham.
A tornado struck the city in 1931, killing one woman and severely damaging several houses.
- List of tornadoes and tornado outbreaks
- List of European tornadoes and tornado outbreaks
- Climate of the United Kingdom
- Indymedia UK - After the tornado: "market forces" force demolition of Sparkbrook Church
- Ecclesiastical Law Society
- "BIRMINGHAM STRUCK BY A TORNADO! - British Pathe". 1931. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
- BBC Birmingham Site
- BBC Birmingham - Pictures by the public
- Birmingham City Council tornado page[dead link]
- The Balti Triangle Back in Business (photos)
- Forward - Birmingham City Council newspaper
ITN News report on the Birmingham tornado http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPtdu6zLh8E