Twister sighted off the coast of Cornwall as Britain is hit with floods, gale force winds and Met Office warns we face long period of severe weather

  • More than two inches of rain fell last night with strong winds of 80mph also battering parts of the country
  • The wild weather has already led to flooding and dramatic sea rescues in Cornwall and Devon today
  • An air-sea rescue helicopter has airlifted three crewmen injured on two boats in stormy weather off the Isles of Scilly
  • Bizarre weather conditions for June highlighted by sighting of huge twister off Cornish coast
  • The south-west and South Wales under a 54-hour warning from 6pm yesterday to midnight tomorrow
  • Emergency services issue a 'major flood' alert in the South-West and Wales as Atlantic front sweeps in

By Anthony Bond
PUBLISHED: 02:17 GMT, 14 June 2012 | UPDATED: 16:45 GMT, 15 June 2012

Britain is braced for a second deluge of torrential rain over the next two days as the Met Office issued one of thelongest severe weather warnings in its history - with a TWISTER even spotted off the coast.
More than two inches of rain fell last night with strong winds of 80mph battering the country, causing huge seas and flooding in the south west.
Forecasters say the country will still have a wait to see a glimpse of summer as the dreadful conditions will continue throughout the rest of today and into tomorrow, as storm clouds move northwards.

article 2159048 139FC24A000005DC 180 964x834 - Britain is hit by floods, gale and forced winds. Bizarre: Locals in Cornwall were stunned when they saw this giant twister forming over the coast of the county. A huge storm last night caused flooding and huge seas in the county

article 2159048 139F4292000005DC 162 964x726 - Britain is hit by floods, gale and forced winds. Heavy: These Met Office maps show how Britain was affected by rainfall this morning

article 2159048 139F07B5000005DC 819 964x647 - Britain is hit by floods, gale and forced winds. Wet: Lucy Allen and her horse Poppy cross a swollen ford in the village of Meavy in Devon. The south west of England was hit with heavy rainfall overnight

article 2159048 139F5C1F000005DC 646 964x901 - Britain is hit by floods, gale and forced winds. Grim: Spectators take cover under umbrellas today after rain stopped play at the Aegon tennis championships at Queen's club in London

article 2159048 139F5C10000005DC 995 964x760 - Britain is hit by floods, gale and forced winds. Damp: The poor weather led to the covers been brought out and the players returning to their dressing rooms

The south-west and south Wales are under a 54-hour severe weather warning from 6pm yesterday to midnight tomorrow and people in the south-west, Wales and the Midlands have been told to 'prepare for flooding'.
The latest storms follow dreadful weather conditions earlier this week which resulted in more than three inches, or 80mm, of rain falling in just 24 hours, leaving homes and roads flooded.
Firefighters are on flood alert in many parts of the country with crews in the south west - which have seen a huge surge in flooding-related call outs since the start of the week - braced for more this weekend.

Several fire crews have had to rescue drivers who ignored road closures and diversion warnings and drove into flooded roads.

Cornwall and Devon were last night in the firing line as a huge storm rolled in from the Atlantic.
Earlier this week, locals in Cornwall were stunned when they snapped a tornado forming over the coastline - highlighting how uncommon the weather conditions are for this time of year.
article 2159048 139D2A35000005DC 666 306x392 - Britain is hit by floods, gale and forced winds.
The huge twister was spotted off Bossiney Bay in Tintagel, North Cornwall, by photographer Avian Sandercock, 43, on Tuesday.
He said the funnel cloud whirled around the coastline for ten minutes - heading towards a holiday park before disappearing.
Mr Sandercock said: 'I couldn't believe my eyes. It was incredible and the sky was strange.
'I've never seen anything like that before. I don't think I was scared, just astonished. I grabbed my camera from the house and rushed out to see it.
'When it started to fade I drove down to see if I could catch it. I fancy myself as a bit of a mini-tornado chaser.'
Sarah Holland, from the Met Office, said the 'Twister of Tintagel' was actually a rare funnel cloud that would be called a waterspout if it touched the sea.
'Funnel clouds can occur if the right conditions are in place and although they’re not a sight you see very often, they do happen from time to time.


'Tornadoes aren't that common, but they are a part of the UK climate; between 30 and 40 are reported on average each year.'
Last night, there were reports of flooding and huge seas resulted in a number of dramatic rescues.
Homes in St Agnes, Cornwall, were flooded and rescue teams from Perranporth were scrambled to pump out water and sewage.

An air-sea rescue helicopter airlifted three crewmen injured on two boats in stormy weather off the Isles of Scilly this morning.

One man suffered a broken ankle and two others suffered a fractured arm and cuts.
Ken Bazeley of Falmouth Coastguard said 'There are several vessels that we are monitoring all the time as they make their way back to Falmouth or Plymouth or the south coast of Cornwall that have suffered mast or steering problems.'
The Penlee lifeboat was also launched this morning to go to a yacht which broadcast a Mayday.

An RNLI spokesman said 'The Penlee all-weather lifeboat launched to assist a 38ft yacht with two people on board 12 miles south of Newlyn.

'The yacht had managed to lose a sail overboard that got tangled around the keel and rudder in a south east gale.

'The lifeboat arrived on the scene in 40 minutes and managed to secure a rope to the yacht then started the tow back to Newlyn.

'Later the Penlee Inshore Lifeboat launched as the vessels approached the harbour to help tow the yacht through the gaps in testing conditions, and the yacht was safely moored.'
article 2159048 139F3EEA000005DC 445 964x638 - Britain is hit by floods, gale and forced winds. Empty: The dreadful weather conditions have affected the tourist industry. These pedalos wait to be hired on a bleak-looking beach in Weymouth, Dorset

article 2159048 139F3EEF000005DC 984 964x639 - Britain is hit by floods, gale and forced winds. Bleak: Despite it being the middle of June, the storms in Weymouth have left it looking deserted

article 2159048 139BA0DA000005DC 938 964x977 - Britain is hit by floods, gale and forced winds. It's coming: NASA's Terra satellite took this stunning image of the 70mph Atlantic storm at 12.45pm yesterday as it span towards the South-West

Meanwhile there were reports that two more ran yachts had run aground in huge seas off Plymouth in Devon.

This morning the 9.15am Scillonian Ferry service between Penzance and the Isles of Scilly was cancelled because of dangerously high seas.
A number of boats were ripped from their moorings during the night in Falmouth and Penryn in Cornwall.
The Environment Agency said people in Devon and Cornwall should 'remain prepared' for the possibility of flooding.
Devon County Council said its highways department, which was still clearing up debris from last week’s storms, was 'geared up' to deal with any incidents.
The storms have resulted in some huge seas of the coastline with surfers taking advantage of massive waves in Harlyn Bay in Cornwall.
Huge waves were also seen crashing over a lighthouse in Porthcawl, Wales.

The Environment Agency last night issued flood warnings – the second-highest level of alert – for the South East and East Anglia and announced a further 12 flood alerts in other areas.
It said its specialist teams would closely monitor river levels and use pumping equipment in the worst-affected areas. The warnings cover 32,500 properties.

article 2159048 139B8264000005DC 238 964x456 - Britain is hit by floods, gale and forced winds. Enjoying the final few glimmers of sun: With yet more rain and stormy weather forecast, Freya Kirkpatrick , 4, takes a last chance to play in the sunshine with her dog, Monty, in a giant field of ox eye daisies on the edge of Blithfield Reservoir near Rugeley, Staffordshire

article 2159048 139AB694000005DC 62 964x562 - Britain is hit by floods, gale and forced winds. Flying high... while they can: Paragliders take advantage of break in the miserable weather over Beachy Head and Eastbourne in East Sus+++ yesterday

article 2159048 139AB635000005DC 990 964x603 - Britain is hit by floods, gale and forced winds.
Making the most of it: The paragliders may have to back up they chutes soon, though, as more downpours are sweeping their way across the UK today
Speaking about firefighters being on flood alert, councillor Brian Coleman, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Fire Services Management Committee, said:
'Crews across the country are on standby for any incidences of flooding. We know from previous experience the disruption, and in some cases devastation, that flooding can cause. People can be assured that whatever turn the weather takes, fire crews and council staff will be out in force doing everything they can to help.
'Fire crews have been advising people in flood risk areas to exercise an extra degree of caution. Parents should be keeping a close eye on their children and warning them of the potential dangers of going too near to rivers and streams.

'In some areas motorists have been ignoring flood warnings and driving into roads submerged in water – some have been blindly following their satnavs. Water on the road can be deeper than it looks so it is vital that drivers do not ignore road closure and diversion signs. Vehicles can float away in as little as two feet of water.'
This latest storm comes after a brief respite for Britain which had been enjoying better weather following dreadful conditions earlier this week.

More than three inches, or 80mm, fell in just 24 hours and left homes and roads flooded.

Speaking about this weekend's weather, a spokesman for the Environment Agency said: ‘The heavy rainfall is expected to spread into central and north eastern England on Friday, with heavy showers to follow throughout the day and into Saturday.

article 2159048 139B3D5A000005DC 730 964x576 - Britain is hit by floods, gale and forced winds.
Calm before the storm: The sky above the Queens tennis club on day three of the AEGON Championships in London hint at what is to come