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Into the heart of weather terror

Every year over 38 million Brits jet abroad to escape the miserable British weather. But a hapless few find themselves a million miles away from the climate they craved. Instead they become caught up in extreme and life-threatening weather events. These are their true stores.

In the Philippines the most devastating typhoon on record sees two friends battling to rescue people trapped in their hotel rooms. A rookie adventurer falls victim to heatstroke on a lone trek through the Gobi desert, putting his life in danger. On the volcanic island of Madeira, a gentle walking holiday turns into a nightmare when unrelenting rainfall brings rock and debris cascading down the mountains, destroying everything in its path. A jet-ski session in Cancun changes one young holidaymaker's life forever when lightning strikes. And a romantic stay on a Thai island turns into a bid to get back to Blighty when torrential rains wash away hotel bungalows.

Using footage from the time and eye-witness testimony, we tell these Brit's compelling stories of survival against the odds in the face of nature’s fury.

Facts

The USA averages around 1,200 tornadoes every year, more than any other country.

The word hurricane comes from the Taino Native American word, 'hurucane', meaning evil spirit of the wind.

Tsunamis can travel at speeds of up to 500mph (805km/h), which is almost as fast as a jet plane.

A bolt of lightning can travel at up to 136,000mph (218,871km/h) and reach temperatures of 30,000ºC – that's hotter than the surface of the sun!

The world’s windiest place is Port Martin, Antarctica, with an average wind speed of 40mph (64km/h).

The volcanic eruption of Krakatoa in 1883, which killed over 36,000 people, is thought to be the loudest sound ever heard in modern history, with reports of it being heard up to 3,000 miles (4,828km) from its point of origin.

The difference between a hurricane, cyclone and typhoon is all down to geography. Hurricanes are defined as storms over the North Atlantic or the Caribbean. In the western Pacific Ocean, hurricanes are known as typhoons. And cyclones are hurricanes over the Indian Ocean.

The most powerful earthquake ever recorded was in Valdivia, Chile. It occurred in 1960 and had a magnitude of 9.5.

The largest officially recognised hailstone on record fell in 2010 near Vivian, South Dakota. It measured 8in (20cm) in diameter, over 18in (46cm) in circumference, and weighed nearly 2lb (0.9kg).