What happened to summer? Mini twister now hits Britain

After days of torrential rain at a time when we should be soaking up the sun, the UK has now been hit by a mini twister.

The 'baby' tornado was spotted racing through the sky in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, and came as the Met Office issued severe weather warnings.

Crowds of onlookers gathered to witness the scene, an unusual site on Britain's shores.

Web designer Carl Spencer, 25, caught the twister on his iPhone from his office in the town.

He told the Daily Mail: 'It was amazing, I have never seen anything like it in Leamington Spa.

'I was caught in a twister in Namibia three years ago, which was unreal but I never expected to see one in my own home town.

'I was sitting at my desk just after lunch when my colleague shouted across the office that there was a tornado.

'I didn't believe him at first, however, when I looked out the window I could see this black twister spinning in the sky.

'It seemed to be shooting out of large grey cloud - it really dominated the skyline.

'It must have been at least 100ft from top to bottom. It was getting bigger and bigger.'

A Met Office spokeswoman said it was likely a funnel cloud, and told the paper: 'The weather conditions required for the formation of a funnel cloud usually have to be showery, so a day when heavy showers or thunderstorms occur.

'Funnel clouds are caused by the up and down draughts that can occur within deep shower clouds called cumulonimbus clouds.

'Certain conditions can lead to the rotation of the cloud at its base.'

As well as the unusual sighting of a twister, Britain's summer took another turn for the worse as flood warnings were also issued for the North East, parts of Cumbria, the East of England, and the East Midlands.

On top of this, drivers were also warned today to expect jams on major routes as the school holidays begin this weekend.

The Highways Agency warned parents to plan their journey and to check traffic and weather conditions before setting off.

Mr Penning said: 'For many people this will be the longest car journey of the year, often on an unfamiliar route and we want to help them to avoid spoiling the start of their holiday.

'A few moments checking traffic conditions before you set off could take a lot of stress out of the journey.'

If the typical English weather is putting you off a staycation, head off on one of these brilliant summer holidays abroad:

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What happened to summer? Mini twister now hits Britain

Fill me in: Baros has been officially recognised as the first Eco Dive resort in the Maldives. It's introduced a series of eco family programmes for parents and the over tens that combine the glamour of the rain forest of the ocean and the need to conserve some of the most beautiful reefs in the world under the internationally recognised reef check programme. Kids can also go turtle and dolphin watching and Manta ray fingerprinting!
Price: Seven nights at Baros Maldives costs from £4,725 for a family of three, staying in a Deluxe Villa and including breakfast, international flights and transfers.
Visit: Bookings ambercrombiekent.co.uk or call 0845 618 2214.

Fill me in: We think this must be one of the best value summer family holidays we've seen: a week’s stay at the Chalet Hotel Mariandre in the mountain resort of Alpe d’Huez in the French Alps, including breakfast, afternoon tea, five-course evening meals with wine (6 nights), complimentary soft drinks and ice-lollies for kids all day long. There's heaps of resort activities, including swimming pools, a summer toboggan run, an outdoor ice rink, rafting, climbing, cycling and a sports centre. Yes, please.
Price: From £150 to £199 per person for a week.
Visit: espritfamilyadventures.com and 01252 618300.

Fill me in: Why not make life easy and let somebody else plan your summer holiday-of-a-lifetime? Esencia Experiences offer bespoke packages to Cuba, where you'll have an activity-packed itinerary made especially for you. Highlights for all the family are numerous, but include: steam train rides, crocodile farms, marine parks, stunning beaches, visits to 'paladors' - restaurants in the homes of locals - an afternoon with a cigar sommelier (one for the boys), and mojitos in Havana's best hidden-gem bars (one for the girls).
Price: Bespoke travel experiences to Cuba are available with Esencia Experiences from £4995 for a family of four for seven nights, with economy flights and five-star hotel accommodation. Tours and excursions extra.
Visit: esenciaeexperiences.com or call +44 (0)1481 714 898.

Fill me in: A luxury hotel with something for everyone: a Mini Club and children’s pool for the kids; shopping boutiques for mums; golf and sports social clubs for dads; minigolf, tennis and water sports for teens. The Costa Teguise’s green spaces and Timanfaya National Park make a great day out for sightseeing and education for all age levels, and the average summer temp of 32C is quite tempting, too.
Price: Rooms from €136.20 per night.
Visit: gran-melia-salinas.com

Fill me in: Families looking for summer holidays with true, laidback cool should head to Can Talaias high on the hills of Ibiza. Formerly the family home of lovable British rogue, comic actor Terry Thomas and his wife Belinda, this charming and eight-bedroom boutique hotel is now run by their son Cushan with his wife and young children. As one of the island’s first agroturismo hotels, Can Talaias is the perfect place to sit, kick back and take in one of the  most spectacular views on the island from their breathtaking terrace with honesty bar, whilst the children make friends with the pot-bellied pigs and peacocks before a dip in the fresh water pool and a walk through the trees to a secluded cove.
Price: Double rooms from €157 per night, including continental breakfast and local tax.
Visit: hotelcantalaias.com

Fill me in: Let us introduce you to rudechalets.com – an super-fun and family-friendly provider of summertime mountain holidays in the French alpine town of Morzine in the Portes du Soleil. Morzine is an awesome place for families to visit in July and August as there are loads of exciting FREE events, including the 'World of Morzna' children’s week (27 – 29 July 2011) with fairy-tale spectacles, circus skills, magic workshops, puppet-making and face paintings.
Price: From £899 per week, including self-catered chalet rental.  All bedrooms are en suite, with XBOX 360s/LCD screens, table football, media centre, as well as a huge terrace balcony with outdoor furniture and a gas BBQ.  Multi pass for a family of 4 (€24 per week) gives unlimited access to swimming pools, tennis courts, swimming lakes and beaches, pedestrian gondolas and toy trains.
Visit: rudechalets.com/summer or call 08700687030.

Fill me in: Treat yourself to a trip to stunning Patagonia - there's so much going on for the whole family. Each day you'll be able to choose from a range of activities that include things like hiking within the Torres del Paine Park up to the base of the Paine’s Massif itself (be prepared: it's hours though) to a more relaxing horse ride in fjords and estancias.
Price: From £2,999 per person including flights, private transfers and all accommodation.
Visit: blacktomato.co.uk

Fill me in: Celebrities and royalty flock to Sardinia in the summer months to be seen the chic five-star hotels on the famous Costa Smeralda, renowned bars & restaurants in Porto Cervo, and the surrounding hotspot nightclubs. However, you don’t have to be rich and famous to enjoy the stunning beaches of Sardinia....
Price: Hotel Cervo in the heart of Porto Cervo costs from £3,567pppw in July but Hotel Le Palme just up the road and next to the exclusive Hotel Pitrizza costs from £917pppw in July. These prices include half board but exclude flights and transfers.
Visit: justsardinia.co.uk or call Just Sardinia 01202 484858.

Fill me in: Orhaniye is peaceful and unspoilt, but what makes this particular holiday so special is the service at the family-run Dogan Hotel. The hotel offers 30 guest rooms, its own beach, freshwater swimming pool and children’s paddling pool, dinner is served sea-side and there’s a weekly special lamb night.
Price: From £510 pp for a family of four (sharing two rooms) with flights, breakfast and transfers.
Visit: travelzest.com 0800 171 2155

Fill me in: Cap d’Agde is one of the top destinations on the French coastline, home to volcanic cliffs, a black sand beach, fine sandy beaches and a lively port. Head to this three-bedroom house with private whirlpool and mooring for a boat of up to 24m at L’Ile Saint Martin.
Price: From £1981 for week.
Visit: lagrange-holidays.co.uk

Fill me in: Set on a gorgeous stretch of beach on Barbados' West Coast, Tamarind is a family-friendly hotspot that recently launched a Flying Fish Kid's Club for young ones, and Club Tamarin teen lounge, which provides a cool place to hang out with large-screen Wii, popular game consoles and disco nights.
Price: From $257 (approx £160) per room per night in a Pool/Garden View Room. Kids eat, drink and stay free when staying in the same rooms with their parents (applicable for 1 or 2 children depending on room category) (Savings of 30% until October 2011).

Visit: tamarindbarbados.com

Fill me in: Tel Aviv is an incredibly laid-back and safe city ideal for families looking to enjoy a city break, close to the beach. Situated on a 14km strip of Mediterranean coast, the city has a varied range of attractions for family members of all ages to enjoy, from sandy beaches, to bustling flea markets, botanical gardens and over 20 museums.It's just a five-hour flight from London Heathrow and temperatures are warm, between 21 and 30C in July and August.
Price: Cox & Kings is offering 4 nights at the Dan Hotel in Tel Aviv priced from £1,085 per adult and £1,025 per child. This price includes return flights with British Airways, private transfers and accommodation with breakfast daily based on two separate rooms.
Visit: coxandkings.co.uk or call 0207 873 5000. See goisrael.com for info on Tel Aviv.

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