The United Kingdom has the highest frequency of tornadoes in Europe, although they are usually small and do little damage. On average, there are 50 tornadoes (both documented and undocumented) every year. Most occur in southern England.
Early winter cold fronts often spark tornado outbreaks as the cold air moves rapidly across the U.K. from the north and the west.
The largest outbreak in Britain occurred on November 21, 1981, when a strong front spawned 105 tornadoes in under six hours. The twisters were weak, and no one was killed.
In 1950 a tornado traveled at least 66 miles (106 kilometers) through southern England, uprooting trees and wrecking hundreds of homes.
In October 2000 a tornado struck the town of Bognor Regis in West Sussex, damaging a hundred homes before petering out.
The Netherlands has Europe's second highest tornado frequency, with about 35 twisters every year.
In Europe a typical tornado lasts fewer than ten minutes and has top wind speeds of 110 miles (177 kilometers) an hour or less.
Tornadoes in the United States are generally more severe because the temperature differences between colliding airflows are greater.