US Tornadoes 1950-2016

I’ve just downloaded the latest updated US tornado data from 1950-2016. First off, this is a big data series, and it’s not easy to navigate and it’s complicated. It’s complicated because for some of the more severe events that run across more than one county, there are multiple entries that share the same common ID. These ID’s are not always stored sequentially in the dataset which makes counting using the EF categories very tricky. Personally, I think this database is in need of a rethink. Maybe by splitting the data into two, with one series of single unique entries for each tornado, and another separate series linked to the […]

The Great Thunderstorm of Widecombe-in-the-Moor

The Great Thunderstorm of Widecombe-in-the-Moor on Dartmoor, according to the Wikipedia article took place on Sunday, 21 October 1638, when the church of St Pancras was apparently struck by ball lightning during a severe thunderstorm. An afternoon service was taking place at the time, and the building was packed with approximately 300 worshippers. Four of them were killed, around 60 injured, and the building severely damaged as the tower and roof were ripped off. It’s hard to believe now, when you stand and look at the church as I did just a few days ago, that such a calamity ever befell it, but then again it did happen almost 378 years […]