Tornado that hit Jersey during Storm Ciaran was 'strongest in almost 70 years'

A tornado that ripped through Jersey during Storm Ciaran was likely the strongest in the British Isles for almost 70 years, an investigation has found.

The Tornado and Storm Research Organisation (TORRO) said the wind vortex, which swept in around midnight on Wednesday 1 November, was also "easily" the most powerful ever recorded on the Channel Islands.

It came as Storm Ciaran swept across southern Britain, bringing torrential rain, strong winds and flooding to many areas last week.

Researchers said the tornado was more powerful than the one which tore through Birmingham in 2005 and caused an estimated £40m worth of damage.

It was also "likely" the strongest since a violent, swirling storm smashed through Gunnersbury, west London, in December 1954, TORRO said.

The findings confirm claims by residents who say they witnessed a tornado during the storm, which caused widespread damage to properties across the island.

Windows were smashed, trees felled, roof tiles were ripped off homes and some structures even collapsed.

Wind speeds of 104mph were recorded, with dozens forced to flee their homes. The island's airport and all schools were also closed.

TORRO said the tornado was accompanied by frequent lightning and hail when it made landfall at St Clement, on the southeastern coast of the island, at around midnight.

The wind vortex then left a trail of destruction stretching five miles, before it exited the island in the Fliquet area in the northeast.

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Tornados are rated on an international "intensity" scale of T0 to T10, with the latter being the strongest.

Following an investigation on the island over the weekend, TORRO said its researchers had given the Jersey tornado a preliminary score of T6.

It is the highest rating since the T7 given to the event in Gunnersbury in the 1950s, which is said to have lifted a car 15ft into the air, damaged homes and ripped the roof off of the area's London Underground station.

"TORRO keeps record of tornadoes for the UK, Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man," the organisation said.

"There have only been a few tornadoes of T6 intensity and greater in the last century within the records, and this is easily the strongest on record for the Channel Islands."

The group said hailstones which fell on Jersey during the storm were also the largest since ice balls of around 5cm were reported on the island in 1983.