Members of the public have been warned to remain ‘alert, cautious and vigilant’ after a small group of tornados were spotted over the Thames Estuary late on Monday afternoon – they are currently making progress towards the Southend coastline.

At 6.20pm, a number of calls were made to 999 to raise the alarm, and public safety officials were quick to point out that these particular tornados are far less dangerous than the type of tornados that can often be found in the USA.

Ian Sobar contacted Southend News Network from the Essex Weather Office to confirm that there isn’t anything for residents and businesses to be concerned about.

He said: ‘There has been a lot in the news over the last few days about a so-called ‘waterspout’ that was spotted off the Suffolk coastline, and these are very similar in nature – the only major difference is that they are tornados, and there are four of them.’

‘A waterspout is a circular pillar of water that stretches from the sea to a cloud, while a tornado has a higher proportion of air in it. Luckily the four that are currently heading towards Southend are low-level tornados, and the largest one is only a ‘level 2′ on the Humperdinck scale.’

‘They are due to make landfall between Shoeburyness and Leigh On Sea at around 9.30pm this evening, and while they are four separate tornados there isn’t really any cause for concern. Some minor measures may need to be taken if they combine together before reaching the coast, but they would still need to reach ‘level 11′ to be powerful enough to raise a domestic cat off the ground – this is very rare.’

Southend Pier officials have been taking precautions since the tornados were spotted, and a spokesperson confirmed that they are ‘confident’ that the existing repair works will be able to withstand a tornado of this size.

Ronald Seal spoke to us via telephone earlier, and he said: ‘We have placed extra temporary caps on top of the cracked pile caps that are currently being repaired, and all pier trains have been locked away until 8am tomorrow morning. Their age does make them susceptible to track slip from time to time, but they did survive the Great Storm of 1987 without any problems.’

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