Hazard Prone: London

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Tornadoes in the capital

  • There are over 70 tornadoes a year in the UK but they are very minor
  • In December 2006, North London was hit by a tornadoes that was so localized that it affected just a few streets in Kensal Rise
  • Roofs were ripped from house, trees were blownn down and cars were damaged or crushed 
  • Amazingly no one was killed and there were few minor injuries
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What caused the UK's storms and local tornadoes

  • Storms are brought by depressions or low pressure areas, formed by circulating air around an area of low pressure 
  • These draw together cold winds from polar regions to the north and tropical winds from the south 
  • Tornadoes in the UK are most likely to form when cold air moves rapidly south over warmer land or sea
  • As the warm air rises to the surface it becomes lighter making it unstable
  • This sets up small convection currents whci hrise through the atmosphere, like gusts of wind
  • The Earth's rotation causes the rising air to spin
  • The faster the spin, the more the air is likely to touch down on the Earth's surface, this forms the tornado
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Assessing London's flood risk

  • The worst-affected areas are close to the Thames, it has 4 main causes
  • Prolonged rainfall, when surface run-off flows over impermeable tarmac and concrete surfaces into drains, which lead to the sewers and then to the river
  • Sudden storms. London's summer temperatures are the highest in the UK. Evapouration from the Thames causes huge amounts of mositure to be transported to the upper atmosphere - where it condenses and falls as rain, often in thunderstorms, this causes blockages in drains causeing flooding
  • Storm Surges. These occur when tides are highest, bringing incoming tides up the River Thames to the point where they meet out-going river flow
  • Exceptionally low pressure, reducing the weight on the seaand causing it to rise above its normal level
  • The Thames barrier attempts to stop these storm surges 
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