Freak 'mini tornado' causes mayhem
Families in Co Antrim were left picking up the pieces after a "mini tornado" tore through Glengormley yesterday.
Residents reported how the freak phenomenon sent pets crazy, gardens were wrecked and children were terrified and excited in equal measure.
Householders prayed their roofs would stay on as the mini tornado raged - if only for a few seconds.
Gavin Robinson, who lives in Glengormley, told the Belfast Telegraph that homes in the Ballyhenry area were badly damaged.
He said: "My wife and I were in the house along with the three kids when all of a sudden all you could hear was the wind battering round outside.
"It started at about 3.30pm and the rain had come on so heavily we thought there were hailstones.
"When I looked out the window I just caught sight of our garden fence blowing over in the gale."
Rather than worry about damage to the house, Gavin's three children were excited by the drama.
"They could hear the wind howling loudly and blowing down the chimney and thought it was all very exciting. Needless to say, my wife and I didn't share their enthusiasm," he said.
The strong winds which battered the houses lasted only 10 or 15 seconds, but the damage was obvious straight away.
Gavin and his family were joined outside by their neighbours as they checked the damage to their homes. Some houses had lost slates from the roof while others had to rescue garden furniture and bins from the road.
Gavin said: "Everyone on the street was really shocked by the whole thing.
"We've never seen weather like this in Glengormley and it came and went so quickly we didn't think there could be much damage.
"The gardens were all full of tiles so the wind must have been really strong.
"I dread to think what it was like if you were outside when it struck."