Twenty injured by tornado in Birmingham, UK

Friday, July 29, 2005

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Officials said that at least 20 people were injured as a mini-tornado (more correctly, a whirlwind) swept through Birmingham on Thursday. People made temporarily homeless by the storm sought shelter at a local university.

Some homes could be beyond repair, and may have to be bulldozed.

The British Meteorological Office has estimated that the tornado had either a T3 or a T4 rating (Or F1 on the Fujita Scale), which would mean that wind speeds of between 93 and 130 miles per hour swept through the UK's second-largest city. An area of approximately one km² in Kings Heath was damaged.

A Met Office spokesperson told the BBC: "We have an average of 33 reports of tornadoes in the UK each year but these are especially rare in built-up areas and there has not been one of this strength in many years."

Birmingham City Council set up emergency shelters in Aston University for those whose homes were damaged. According to a spokesperson from the Ambulance Service, 20 patients were removed to Heartlands Hospital, Selly Oak Hospital, and Dudley.