Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 23 November 2014

Homes damaged by 'mini-tornado'

A mini-tornado is believed to have swept through a seaside town causing damage to houses, trees and telegraph poles
A mini-tornado is believed to have swept through a seaside town causing damage to houses, trees and telegraph poles

A mini-tornado is believed to have swept through a seaside town causing damage to houses, trees and telegraph poles.

Hampshire Constabulary said they had received reports of disruption in Hayling Island which is believed to have been caused by the unusual weather.

A spokeswoman said officers were working with partner agencies including Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, Hampshire County Council and Havant Borough Council to clean up the area.

A Havant Council spokesman said the mini-tornado is believed to have caused damage to properties in Blackthorn Road and Ilex Walk although no injuries had been reported.

He said: "Emergency services are at the scene and Havant Borough Council (HBC) is working with Hampshire County Council Highways to clean up the debris.

"HBC building control officers are assessing the damage to the affected properties and more will be known once inspections have been carried out."

Nearly 100 houses had their roofs damaged by the high winds and rain and several cars are also believed to have been damaged by fallen trees and broken fences, according to the Portsmouth News.

Beach huts were also damaged on the seafront, the paper said.

Cheryl Hart told The News the tornado sounded like "a freight train hurtling along the road".

She said: "It woke me up. You could hear it coming. It sounded like a freight train coming up the road. You could actually see it. It's difficult to describe but it was like a big grey wall. I didn't see any rubbish or debris in it - just a big grey wall of wind.

"We have just got a bit of damage to our garden but other homes have been hit. One has a kayak that has been blown into the garden. No-one knows where it has come from."

Havant council said that minor damage had also been reported in Silversands Gardens.

The spokesman said building control officers had inspected the damage to the affected properties and were satisfied that the buildings were safe.

He said the emergency services had left the area by 1pm and that debris had been removed, although Hampshire County Council officers were still clearing fallen trees.

Paul Knightley, forecast manager for Meteogroup, said: "The conditions were favourable for a tornado; there is an unstable atmosphere, it is fairly warm for this time of year and there is a lot of moisture in the air."

He said there had been some evidence over the years of higher incidences of tornadoes along the coastline between Portsmouth and Brighton.

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