Supercell hits South Tyneside!

June has continued the trend of record breaking weather, and again it is for rainfall.  While it has been extremely wet for most of the month, the 28th June will be one of those events that people remember for years.  At around 8am 2 storms formed in Wales, one headed north while the other crossed the Midlands.  The latter hit first, and spawned tornados, hail bigger than golf balls and torrential rain.  At around 4pm the other storm hit North east England.  The skies rolled in completely black, it was like something from Independence day!

After a bit of rain, and some thunder all went quiet, and many thought we had escaped the worst, myself included.  Then reports of immense rainfall came through from Newcastle and Gateshead, and the skies above South Tyneside opened again, accompanied by violent thunder and lightning.  In the hour upto 18.18 33.9mm of rain fell, as recorded by my weather station.  On average, June sees something along the lines of 40 mm of rain, so we had almost that amount in an hour, and yesterdays total rainfall was 46.2mm.  It has been said afterwards that we were hit with a supercell thunderstorm, which weather enthusiasts will be very excited about, as they are extremely rare in Britain, and make up less than 1% of our storms.

What sets this kind of storm apart from the others is the rotation in the cloud. A supercell is usually found in the warm part of a low pressure system, and can be one of the most dangerous types of storm. It is basically a huge rotating thunderstorm, the area of rotation withhin the storm is called a mesocyclone that can spawn a tornado. The storm itself can rotate when winds at different levels of the atmosphere come from different directions. If the winds are lined up just right, with just enough strength, the storm turns like a top. Air circulations within the storm combined with a strong updraft contribute to tornado formation.  There are reports that there were 3 supercell storms yesterday!!!  There was widespread flooding across the region, and as it hit at rush hour there was pandemonium on the roads.  The Tyne and Wear metro stopped all service due to water on the tracks and landslides, Newcastle’s Central Station flooded, as did the Quayside, aswell as many other areas, including the Metro Centre and Ikea in Gateshead, where part of the roof collapsed.  Heworth roundabout, one of the busiest roads during the commute was under over a foot of water.  More locally, Lindisfarne roundabout, Low Simonside and Tyne Dock were hit hard, as was Hedworth and Fellgate with many homes suffering with flood damage.  Some homes were struck by lighning, including 2 that subsequently caught fire.

So thats a quick report on yesterdays events, I will get back on and update more indepth and add pictured throughout the day