Supercell Storm over Wokingham

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History on 9th July


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Supercell Storm over Wokingham

Wokingham, Berkshire The 9th of July 1959 AD

By now most of us are aware that though we associate them more with the USA tornadoes are far from unknown in Britain. One such mighty storm, which formed in France and came over the Channel (typical) on July 9 1959 has a special place in meteorological history, as it was caught on radar by Professor Frank Ludlam of Imperial College, serendipitously doing field-work with a team of students in the area concerned.
The storm raged over 130 miles of Southern England, bombarding Wokingham with hailstones an inch and more in diameter, sending people running for cover. Studies of the conditions allowed Ludlam to discover the hollow central dome part of the storm, where precipitation was kept high and thus hailstones could increase in size. Ludlamís research student Keith Browning coined the term Supercell to describe the static and immensely powerful storm, and the term stuck.

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