Tornadoes can be the most destructive of all the weather phenomena and yesterday's is thought to be the worst to hit Birmingham since 1931.
It shared some striking similarities with the pre-war twister.
Yesterday's tornado - which featured winds throught to be moving at around 120mph - was as a result of humid weather and summer thunderstorms.
It was one of about 33 tornados that hit Britain every year, which vary in intensity, from one or two slates being blown off roofs to the devastation witnessed yesterday.
This one was borne out of a line of thunderstorms moving northwards over the region from the south of England.
The tornado was formed on a boundary where warm humid air travelling north eastwards interacted with cooler, drier air present over Birmingham.
At that boundary, updraft air - present in any thunderstorm - started twisting.
A violent rotating column of air, fueled by the energy of the humid air, reached to the ground in the shape of a condensation funnel, created and maintained by the strong inflowing winds.
Generally, when humidity is high enough, the tornado funnel is made visible by the circulation of condensed water vapour in its outer sheath and reports yesterday suggested that it was.
The tornado itself is usually between 20-100 metres in diameter and has a path of about three miles.
Physicist Dr Terence Meaden of Torro, the tornado research organisation he founded in 1974, said the country had already seen 28 tornados this year.
"We have devised a scale to measure tornado force, ranging from T1- T9 and judging from the damage it has caused, this one would appear to be T4-T5, with wind speeds of about 120 mph. The worst Britain has seen is T8 with winds of up to 170 mph," he said.
He said Birmingham's worst tornado to date, which occurred in 1931, shared some similarities with yesterday's, including its direction.
"That one, on June 14, started in Hollywood, in Worcester and moved north east across Birmingham," he said. "It was about ten miles long and moved through Hall Green, Small Heath and Saltley.
"It was reported that the houses in Sparkhill were 'reminiscent of war-shattered fronts' and many houses lost their roofs."
British twisters are not as devastating as those in the US because of the UK's mild temperatures and humidity.