Birmingham tornado of 2005

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Birmingham tornado of 2005
Birmingham tornado 2005 damage.jpg
Damage caused by the Birmingham tornado
Duration28 July 2005 (2005-07-28)
Lowest pressure50 mb (1.476 inHg)
Lowest temperature45
Tornadoes confirmed2
Max rating1T5/T6 (F2/F3)[1] tornado
Duration of tornado outbreak28 minutes
Highest winds
  • 137 mph (Birchwood Road, Balsall Heath)
Damage£40 million
Fatalities0 fatalities, 19 injuries
1Most severe tornado damage; see Fujita scale 2Time from first tornado to last tornado

The Birmingham tornado of 2005 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 7 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.[2][3]

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 T5/6 tornado,[1] which would indicate wind speeds between 137 and 186 mph (220 and 299 km/h),[4] equivalent to an F2 or F3 tornado 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 (343 to 386 km/h).

Second tornado[edit]

Three months later, strong winds and driving rain brought a second tornado, which hit less than 1 mile (1.6 kilometres) away from the original twister. The Met Office said there were winds of up to 80 mph (130 km/h) 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.

Earlier tornadoes[edit]

A tornado struck the city in 1931, killing one woman and severely damaging several houses.[5] On 23 November 1981, during a record-breaking nationwide tornado outbreak, two tornadoes touched down within the Birmingham city limits – in Erdington and Selly Oak – with six tornadoes touching down within the boundaries of the wider West Midlands county.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Ten years ago this month on 28th July 2005 shortly after 1:30pm a tornado struck Birmingham causing extensive damage" (PDF). Trnado and Storm Research Organization. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  2. ^ Indymedia UK - After the tornado: "market forces" force demolition of Sparkbrook Church
  3. ^ Ecclesiastical Law Society Archived 2006-12-11 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "The International Tornado Intensity Scale". The Tornado & Storm Research Organisation Severe Weather Forecast. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  5. ^ "BIRMINGHAM STRUCK BY A TORNADO! - British Pathe". 1931. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
  6. ^

External links[edit]

ITN News report on the Birmingham tornado