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This has probably been done many a time on here before but being a massive fan of thunderstorms (and very starved again of late and indeed the last decade overall), I'd be interested to know, what is your favourite/best storm you've ever seen in the UK?  

As a child of the 80's I tend to think of that era and the early 90's as very thundery - it was quite normal back in Essex to have regular storms in summer (especially overnight), and on 24th June 1994 I saw the very best storm I have ever witnessed - if someone had said you'll never see anything like it again I would have been shocked (excuse pun!) but all these years later I still relive that storm in my mind and pray that I'll see something like it again as nothing comes close. 

I recall sitting in the garden after school, enjoying the sunshine and warmth (27c per my old records at the time) and it started clouding over - it reminded me of an approaching warm front at the time but clearly that was the anvil spreading across way in advance of the storm.  Before I knew it, in the distance all I could see was continuous bolts and forks of lightning across the horizon - even then I was passionate about storms and lightning but this was something different to anything I'd seen before and my heart started racing and I felt quite fearful!  As the storm drew nearer, the background was filled with the sound of continuous rumbling, growling and booming which grew louder and louder, whilst all the time the sky grew darker, punctuated every second or 2 with bright flashes.  Then within no time it was so dark the street lights came on and the clouds were glowing bright green - I now know that is often a sign of hail but we had no hail, what we did have was so much CG lightning every second or 2 and thunder that never had an end, just a constant booming all around and explosions when the lightning hit close by.  Every window I ran to front and back of the house had bolts tearing down in front of me - I was so excited but so terrified and I recall hearing my heart beat so loud in my ears it was crazy!  We then had a good 30 mins of just the most intense lightning I've ever seen before it gradually subsided.  I've had very close strikes since which were terrifying but that storm was so consistently raining down lighting in close proximity and so frequent that it has to be the best I've seen in the UK. Oh for something similar again sometime soon!!

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I think I'm jealous of your memory.

1. September 13 Manchester.  A big MCS of fairly frequent lightning and rain and stuff. Swore I saw a bit of gentle rotation on the ground at the Deansgate roundabout for a few seconds, but it could have been outflow.

2. Some corkers in Stoke-on-Trent in the 90s

 

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Posted (edited)

I've got two contenders, both in recent years. One picked for the fun I had with it, and one picked for its appearance and epic winds.

I do remember some cracking overnight storms as a child in the 90s, but I didn't actively observe storms in the same way then, so I can't really count any of them.

1. 18th July 2017. This was the one where the strike in my DP came from. I saw sferics erupt in the channel just as the sun was going down, hopped in my car with my camera (I lived in Southampton at the time) and raced down to the cost at Milford-on-Sea. A fantastic distant dusk light-show was already going on from about 3 or 4 separate cells when I got there, and I managed to snap a huge CG just in front of me from a tiny storm ahead of the main ones, which died off after that one whole strike. I sat there for a good couple of hours, snapping away as the MCS slowly drifted in. What really makes this the most impressive storm was the drive home, during which bright, thick CGs started to rain down as I was driving along the M27. This was followed by the heaviest rainfall I've ever, ever seen in the UK. I had to slow to about 15mph on the motorway because of it, and the wipers just couldn't clear it even on the fastest setting. The noise on the car was incredible. I've attached some photos from this storm.

2. 18th July 2014. I seem to like that date. This was the famous shelf-cloud storm storm that enveloped Kent from NE France after an exceptionally hot day. I lived in Canterbury at the time. The shelf cloud was insanely good and up there with some of the sights you get over in Tornado Alley. When it came over, the winds were just incredible. So refreshing after the low 30s temps of that day. it was an incredibly epic storm, complemented by a gorgeous orange sunset to its right.

Some Youtube footage (not mine): 

 

 

2017:

july2017plume1.jpg

july2017plume2.jpg

july2017plume3.jpg

Edited by Lance M
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Got a top two of storms, neither I can decide between:-

  1. 13th September 2016 in Wilmslow - Came out of work after a horrifically humid day, when you knew it was a case of when, and not if, it cracks off, and had been watching huge storms develop up out of the Midlands and coming this way. Leaving work it was dark and the whole way to the South was so incredibly dark, it genuinely looked like storm chasing in the states. The sky also had that smoothed look across the front like a supercell in the states can do sometimes. Needless to say a mile or two from work and the heavens opened, you could see trees disappear into the wall of water coming my way. Lightning started appearing too, and rather than what I usually see in the UK, with C-C and I-C, this seemed to be aggressively pelting the ground with pink C-G's and a stroke would pulse and last for long enough to focus on it. Torrential rain and thunder and lightning for around 2 hours as it passed off over the Pennines, even got a chase out of it in the car. Lots of flooding and debris afterwards.
  2. Tempted to say this was around 20-22 July 2006 in Rugby, Warwickshire - Away for a day but as I was only 15 and still kind of scared of storms, I stayed away from this. Remember it being a very hot and sultry day with no breeze, and then it clouded over, before starting to rain and then thunder. I remember looking out the window and the edge of the storm I saw racing overhead from the right towards the left, which is when the torrential rain started to fall with lots of thunder and lightning. I'm assuming now, with 15 years more obsessing over severe weather it was some sort of gust front or shelf cloud racing over on the front of the storm, but there was a massive downdraft, tall thin trees were bending to 45° during the initial downburst. Again, an hour or so of thunder and lightning afterwards and still a little muggy. The year could be wrong here, but 2006 or earlier and definitely July.

Mike.

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These all sound pretty epic and exciting! Some great vids and pics there too Lance, nice one!

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17th July 2004 - Supercell Thunderstorm in Essex which initiated in Surrey and dropped a Tornado near Lowestoft. Got pummeled with Golf Ball Sized Hail at my location and put quite a few in the freezer for days to come.

5th August 1981 the Day Darkness Storm over Chelmsford which followed a 7 hour Plume event the night before which I now probably know of as a Supercell. Think I have seen a paper which showed tops on that storm were over 45,000ft

Alas since chasing in the US every year since 2004 nothing really does it for me in this country but would love a storm to prove me wrong 1 day

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I don't think I can quite beat the descriptions that James has given! There are 3 days that pop into my mind.

1) Some time in the Summer of 1994 (Hull)

There was a particularly bad storm that Summer on one weekend afternoon (I remember Bullseye being on shortly beforehand...). A hot and humid day but there was high cloud later in the afternoon. During the evening it became so dark all the streetlights switched on early and there was lightning every second. It was a crazy storm and my brother decided to hide in the cupboard lol. I don't remember the details of this storm particularly well as I was only about 5 at the time but this storm is what got me into the weather! I can't recall anything as bad since then in Hull.

2) One day in early Summer 1998 (Hull)

One of those days where it was just one storm after another and I remember it being sports day at my primary school. We already had a decent storm by lunchtime. In the afternoon however we got a very active developing thunderstorm overhead with the loudest thunder I can remember. A lightning strike very close by set all the car alarms off down the street.

3) 18th July 2017 (Southampton)

This one was an absolute cracker and the best thing was it didn't even feel that hot or humid during the day. Some very unstable air was heading north in the English Channel and in the late afternoon we got a taste of what was to come. We had a massive downpour and some lightning strikes, with the rain enough to flood the roads along the docks of Southampton. Late in the evening an area of low pressure passed through the Bay of Biscay and lightning activity in the channel exploded. This reached me at about half 10 in the evening and didn't stop till half 3. There was constant lightning, sometimes over once a second, providing a spectacular display for hours. One of the rare instances where I was in the right place as the right time because the storms just kept passing around the Southampton area.

Hope we can get something memorable in 2020, though every warm spell keeps getting broken down with a northerly so far.....

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4th July 2015 - Because I wasn't too interested in weather as I am now, I have faint memories of this event. I do remember the incredibly frequent lightning and thunder it produced and I also remember a very close lightning strike that struck a tree on the other side of the road near where I live.

7th June 2016 - The best daytime storm I have ever witnessed to date. At about 2:30pm some storms started breaking out over NW London and an hour later as they started to move over Luton they started to rapidly intensify. The lightning started to become visible about half an hour later, which was also when all hell broke loose. I couldn't help but notice how many CGs in this storm there were, there was probably a CG roughly every 15-20 seconds and it looked like something you would see in Florida/other tropical countries than the UK! The storm went on for roughly 3 hours and also started producing +CGs at the back of the storm, one of which hit a tree close to my back garden and produced the loudest thunder I have ever heard to date.

I didn't manage to get the closest +CG on camera as it was unexpected and came out of nowhere. This is the best +CG I managed to get:

19th July 2017 - This storm didn't produce frequent lightning but it is up there with one of the best thunderstorms because of how many close lightning strikes there were. At about 10pm the storm passed right overhead me so the loud thunder along with the torrential rain was quite awesome to see. Also, at about 1:30am, another storm developed overhead behind the main storm and I got woken up by a huge bang and after, heavy rain started lashing down. I don't have any videos of this unfortunately because I lost the SD card!

26-27th May 2018 - Two days that brought two severe thunderstorms. The first one was at about 11pm on the 26th and distant, frequent lightning was visible to my SE at the time. An hour later, the storm arrived and developed some new thunderstorms ahead of the main one. This bought a couple of hours of frequent lightning and some loud thunder. The second storm was during the evening time on the 27th, when a storm developed in Luton and travelled north, and I managed to get some distant thunder from that. Not long after, storms starting developing over Northampton and Milton Keynes and joined up with the one that was originally over Luton. This produced non stop thunder and some distant lightning.

27th July 2018 - What a day this was. At around 3am storms developed over Milton Keynes and a few over Cambridge and I got treated to the most spectacular distant lightning for about 1 and a half hours before sunrise. Then later in the afternoon, at around 5pm, two storms started travelling northwards over to me. Both of them produced some very close strikes and one of the storms brought some torrential rain along with it. This storm lasted for about an hour before joining with more storms near Peterborough.

27th August 2019 - After a very hot and humid day, storms started to break out near N London at 4:30pm. One of these storms travelled northwards to my location at 5pm and produced some ridiculously close strikes and even a microburst. At around the same time a big storm developed near St Neots and produced a strike roughly every 10 seconds along with a ton of CGs. An hour after all of that another storm came - this one produced a hail core within the huge cumulonimbus and produced some loud thunder. Most of the strikes in this storm were not visible because they were behind the hail core.

 

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18th July 2014 was certainly the best one I can remember (wasn't interested in weather until 2013/14) with a shelf cloud enveloping my area, illuminated by a orange sunset & with flashes of lightning underneath it. Most of the lightning split off to my W but that storm structure puts it at the top of my list.

25th July 2019 was the best daytime thunderstorm I can remember with the MCS veering off to my E, giving a dry but amazing view of CGs galore along with fork & sheet lightning with the sun up. Might not seem like much to others but the fact it was daylight & not 2 in the morning was quite amazing to me.

18th July 2017 could also be up there with these 2.

2014 pics below, credit to Laura Tobin & Paul Douglas

image.thumb.png.b97e9bfe5918a49534755923ae8fe4e7.png

image.thumb.png.454d05f3196b9962bcfa4906802bcfb9.png

image.thumb.png.05d988382ec5c4652b4b8385cfb43c9c.png

2019 pic (taken by me)

image.thumb.png.4695a24c0845dfdd83ddce2fb3ad4e9c.png

2017 pic (taken by me)

IMG_5849.thumb.PNG.7e2f3d666c1821ee477f8a624cc795da.PNG

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2nd would be the July storm spoke about above, huge mcs from France 

1st not sure about the date, a couple of years ago there was a good series of storms that hit Dover over night, two pretty decent storms in there own right, were followed by another huge mcs from France, before it got here, i was watching constant flashing in the channel, then it got here, and the constant flashing continued, no break in the thunder at all just a constant ant roar, don't think I'll ever witness that again. 

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There's been a fair few that have stuck to mind including the now-infamous Manchester Supercell which developed just 5 miles down the Goyt from me however the most memorable has to be when I was young so I don't remember the exact date, but it was in summer during the mid-late 90s there was a plume breakdown which gave the best and most continuous cloud-cloud lightning i've seen at night for just under a hour. The kind you get in Spain or central France where you can place your hands across your face and move it across with a strobe-light kind of effect going on. Obviously we've had storms at night since then but nothing as energetic as that was.

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Not sure I can recall seeing any decent overhead storms, although I dare say there were some before I started taking a real interest in weather. In recent years the best storm I've seen was the one that hit Bournemouth in July 2015 which while I was about 40 miles away from it at the time, it was the most impressive light show I'd seen from a storm. Had I lived where I do now it wouldn't have been far off a direct hit. 

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When I lived in Wales we had one unbelievable storm, I can't remember the year but it would have been around 2013 I would have thought. 

Here's the view from the old house... it was breath-taking seeing the sky light up all across the hills.

View From Old House In Wales.jpg

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Certainly some fantastic storms people have seen there!! Some more great vids and pics too. Hopefully we'll get something stormy again soon with a bit of luck ?

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, alexisj9 said:

I don't know if this is the stardom, but it's exactly like the storm I spoke about in Dover. 

 

That's fantastic, great find  I could watch that for hours!  The commentary could do with some work!

Edited by James1979
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3 hours ago, James1979 said:

That's fantastic, great find  I could watch that for hours!  The commentary could do with some work!

Agreed, I didn't have the sound switched on, on my phone when posting.

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Posted (edited)

I am old enough to remember the storms of the 80s and 90s, and I remember some great storms but did not document any of them. SInce 2004 I have chased storms and these would be the best ones in my mind:

10th May 2006 - MCS developed and moved westwards across Wiltshire and Gloucestershire producing some fantastic lightning. I saw a bolt of lightning hit a tree

28th June 2012 - Supercell in Lincolnshire. Although its lightning was not as impressive (being mainly intracloud and during the day), the rate of rain, winds and hail made this one of the most intense downpours I had seen to this date with flooding.

22nd-23rd July 2013 - Frequent lightning started during the evening and carried on and off throughout the night with some awesome close CG bolts as I chased through Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire

19th July 2014 - A supercell went over Leicestershire near to Coalville. The menacing cloud as it approached, the frequent flashes of lightning and then as it moved over the rain, wind, hail and even a funnel cloud puts this storm in my top 3 storms seen in the UK. It probably would have been the best had it not been for my car breaking down and thus me being behind it for most of its journey up the M1. Still I got to see several CG bolts as I chased it.

1st July 2015 - Although I was actually just behind the storm and was unable to catch it up, the storm produced the most frequent lightning I had seen to that date in the UK. The only time I had seen lightning with that frequency was in France.

7th June 2016 - Huge storm over Bedford that I was lucky to get right underneath. This produced the best CG barrage I have ever seen with several close bolts a minute and ear splitting thunder. For that reason I would say this takes the spot as one of top 3 best storms I have seen in the UK. The same storm brought flooding across London.

15-16th September 2016 - I chased a storm during the evening through parts of Berkshire under extremely heavy rainfall and bright flashes of lightning. This storm produced quite a bit of flooding. This was then followed by several hours of thunderstorm through the night with lots of lightning and some really close bolts.

18-19th July 2017 - This storm possibly tops my chart as the best storm witnessed in the UK. It occurred around the Cambridgeshire/Suffolk border and produced the most frequent lightning I have seen in the UK (even higher rate than July 1st 2015). I also saw the largest hailstones I have ever witnessed (approx grape sized), powerful winds and extreme rainfall that flooded the roads.

26-27th May 2018 - Although I missed the best storm (which occured over London) the storms I saw on this night did produce some fantastic lightning. The first was frequent lightning seen from the Hampshire coast just west of the IOW. The best lightning occured as I intercepted a storm on the way back home, across Warwickshire and Leicestershire.

27th July 2018 - It was not one storm, but several storms that occured during the day over Lincolnshire. Two of those storms make the cut for my list. The first was near to Louth and this storm was noteworthy for its winds and rain. This is the strongest wind I have witnessed in a thunderstorm, I would estimate 60-70mph as the storm went over. The second was during the evening with a great lightning storm along the Lincolnshire coast not far from Mabelthorpe.

2019 was a bit disappointing for storms in the UK (with only the storm of the 24th July being in any way noteworthy) and so far 2020 has been rubbish. Fingers crossed things pick up in June and we can all add to our list of best storms we've seen in the UK

Videos for all the storms I have mentioned from 2015 onwards can be found on my Youtube channel - Supacell Storm Chasing (cheap plug ;))

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiDuFh9TAFJhN8B1oCKGKsA

 

Edited by Supacell
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On 29/05/2020 at 23:19, SNOW_JOKE said:

There's been a fair few that have stuck to mind including the now-infamous Manchester Supercell which developed just 5 miles down the Goyt from me however the most memorable has to be when I was young so I don't remember the exact date, but it was in summer during the mid-late 90s there was a plume breakdown which gave the best and most continuous cloud-cloud lightning i've seen at night for just under a hour. The kind you get in Spain or central France where you can place your hands across your face and move it across with a strobe-light kind of effect going on. Obviously we've had storms at night since then but nothing as energetic as that was.

Keen to know about this Manchester supercell you mentioned if you have any info!

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48 minutes ago, Supacell said:

 

10th May 2006 - MCS developed and moved westwards across Wiltshire and Gloucestershire producing some fantastic lightning. I saw a bolt of lightning hit a tree

 

Was that a Wednesday evening? If it’s the occasion I am thinking of then I was caught out with fellow members of a writing group at a remote old church. Scary but fun as it developed quickly.

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Northern Ireland doesn't get much electric storms but i remember 2 absolutely cracking ones, early 90s from my memory but never seen such lightning and the sharp cracks of thunder, not the usual far away low rumbles. My parents car caught a strike and it set the alarm off, my neighbour seen it and saw the car flash orange! The intensity was amazing, you could sense the pressure difference as my head got really heavy and gone once it moved over. Heres to a thunderstorm mega summer!?

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1 hour ago, Andy Bown said:

Was that a Wednesday evening? If it’s the occasion I am thinking of then I was caught out with fellow members of a writing group at a remote old church. Scary but fun as it developed quickly.

It was a Wednesday, so probably was this storm as it would have tracked straight across your locale.

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21 hours ago, WalsallWeather said:

When I lived in Wales we had one unbelievable storm, I can't remember the year but it would have been around 2013 I would have thought. 

Here's the view from the old house... it was breath-taking seeing the sky light up all across the hills.

View From Old House In Wales.jpg

I thought that was daytime for a second. Amazing!

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Anyways i think that july 23rd of 25th was best storm at night. Constant lightning, gust front, heavy rain, Was quite a powerful storm. Affected such a large portion of the Uk too.

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