Sunday, May 8, marked 10 years since Oxfordshire was hit by a storm dubbed ‘The Bicester twister’.

The huge storm with a dark cloud-funnel started in Wiltshire, spun its way across Oxfordshire and on to Buckinghamshire, before fizzling out just short of Cambridgeshire.

Sightings were reported in Witney, Bicester, Kidlington and Eynsham, with people sharing their alarm at the unusual weather event.

Ferocious winds uprooted trees, sent garden furniture flying and brought hailstones the size of marbles to the countryside.

Jason Bennett, a Bicester resident who saw the storm, said: “I remember going to my patio doors because the sky had gone very dark. I could see the clouds slowly swirling like a whirlpool.

“It moved towards the front of the house. So I went to the front and saw the funnel take shape towards the top of Buckingham Road.”

The storm appeared to be a supercell; a revolving thunderstorm caused by a layer of cold air forming over a zone of warm, wet air.

Supercells are common in the US but rarely occur in Britain. However, Britain does experience more tornadoes than many people might think, with between 30-50 reported yearly.

Some estimates suggest that Britain experiences more twisters per square mile than any country on earth, although other reports give Belgium this title, and put Britain in second place.   


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