Appeal For Information

To report information please see the section on Questionnaires and Contacting TORRO

The files of source reports which TORRO have received would be no-where near as large or complete as they are if it were not for the efforts of so many observers and correspondents over the years. TORRO is indebted to these contributors. The task of data collection is on-going, so this is a timely reminder to request all to send in any reports of the occurrence of the following from any European country from any year:

  • tornadoes, waterspouts and funnel clouds
  • land devils, water devils and fire devils
  • eddy whirlwinds and whirlwinds of uncertain nature
  • violent squalls which may be tornadic
  • remarkable showers
  • damaging hailstorms
  • ball lightning
  • injuries and deaths from lightning

- even anything unusual or bizarre to do with thunderstorms!

TORRO is just as interested if the event occurred earlier today or over 1,000 years ago. Reports from any European country count, as well as the surrounding waters and hence islands in the Mediterranean and Atlantic. If the report is from a country (or a sea) which could be classed as part European and part Asian, please send the report just in case. The obvious example here is Russia, as Europe and Asia meet along the Ural mountains - TORRO is interested in all Russian reports.

Sources of reports includes the following:

  • personal accounts
  • accounts from relatives and friends
  • newspaper reports (remember a different edition may contain additional details)
  • radio and television reports

Site investigations and interviews, wherever and whenever possible, are particularly encouraged as press reports are - sadly nowadays - infrequently accurate and rarely contain the amount and detail of information that scientific research really requires.

When sending in a report, please include any newspaper reports or other accounts, sketches, photographs, etc. All information is retained in TORRO's files, so if you wish TORRO to return any items please make this clear. As well as signing your name, clearly print it so correct acknowledgement for the contribution can be made in summaries (although you can send information anonymously if you really wish!).

Questionnaires for whirlwinds, large hail / damaging hailstorms and ball lightning are provided below.

Every scrap of information counts - thanks for any help that you may be able to offer!

Incidentally, in addition to information TORRO is also delighted to receive donations!!! Remember, TORRO is a voluntary non-commercial operation and any income is ploughed back into the organisation.

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Questionnaires - Introduction
TORRO have introduced a single form of questions and requests for the reporting of events. This is called the Severe Weather Report Form and is emailed directed to TORRO Staff for further investigation.
If you prefer then there are more detailed questionnaires that are tailored to specific types of event. Although these questionnaires may look daunting and some of the questions are fairly detailed, this does enable a comprehensive answer and lessens the need for additional correspondence. Furthermore, not all questions will apply to every event. If at any time you're unable to reply to a question don't worry and if you're unsure about something please indicate this in your answer. Use the links below to view the individual questionnaires.
If you would like a paper version of the form, please contact TORRO at the address below and ask for a copy of the required questionnaire.


Reports - The Questionnaire & Completion Advice
Whirlwind And Large Hail / Damaging Hailstorm Reports

TORRO Whirlwind Reports
TORRO Large Hail Reports

For whirlwinds (all types) and large hail / damaging hailstorms include spaces for all answers, although please feel free to use additional sheet(s) as the length of the reply for several questions might possibly exceed the space available on the questionnaire. Please print out, complete and post the relevant questionnaire to the TORRO address below (which is also given on the questionnaires themselves).

If possible, please enclose a photocopy of part of a map of your area, indicating on it the damage path (if applicable). Please take care in marking the start and end of the track (to the best of your knowledge), as the coordinates of these points will be calculated for referencing, determination of path length and as an indicator of direction. If the track is very short, the scale of the enclosed map may be insufficient for a track to be marked on.

Although the whirlwind questionnaire is more applicable to tornadoes, it can be used for most whirlwind types. For whirlwinds other than tornadoes, some questions would be no longer applicable. For instance, a funnel cloud can not produce any damage and so rather than the location being pin-pointed to the nearest 100 metres, it is probable that it could be only located to the nearest 1,000 metres - likewise for a waterspout. Lesser whirlwinds, such as land devils and water devils, have very short life-times and so a track length can not often be specified (just a "point" reference), with maximum path widths being reported only very rarely. With hailstorms, it is not usually possible for an individual to derive the start and end of the hail swathe, nor the width.

Ball Lightning Reports

TORRO Ball Lightning Questionnaire

The ball lightning questionnaire also includes space for answers, but please use a blank page if you require additional space. As with the whirlwind and large hail / damaging hailstorm questionnaires, please save and then print out the questionnaire, complete it to the best of your ability and post it to the TORRO address below.

Again, enclosing a photocopy of a part of a map of the area in which the ball lightning occurred is very helpful. Please remember to indicate where the ball lightning was observed.

Thunderstorm Reports

TORRO Thunderstorm Report Form

TORRO also records occurrences of thunderstorms, whether severe or not, in Britain and Ireland only. If you live in, or are visiting, Britain or Ireland and would like to become a thunderstorm observer, please contact TORRO at the address on the homepage. Monthly thunderstorm reports, which are based on forms sent in by observers, are published in the Journal of Meteorology.
An internet version of the TORRO Thunderstorm Report Form is provided for the use of existing observers, as well as those who would like to become observers - or those who would just like to send a report in without becoming a TORRO observer.

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