Barton-on-Sea 'tornado' causes damage to homes

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media captionOne resident said the "tornado", which brought down a six-foot wall, felt "cataclysmic"

A "tornado" left a trail of destruction when it struck coastal villages in Hampshire.

People in Barton-on-Sea and Ashley were woken by howling winds and lashing rain in the early hours of Friday.

Homes were damaged, fencing was flattened and a 6ft-high (1.8m) wall was brought down.

Dave Thorne, from Barton, described the noise as "really, scarily loud". BBC Weather presenter Simon King said radar images supported the tornado claims.

Mr Thorne said he heard an "almighty crash" and his window frames broke inward at about 04:00 GMT.

image copyrightDave Thorne
image captionFence panels were torn down by the wind

"The wind noise increased dramatically and there was rain and debris lashing," he said.

"It's like the tornado has gone up the road - there is a clear line of destruction from the direction of the sea heading inland."

He said fence panels in Seaward Avenue were brought down, with one appearing to have been blown 40ft (12m) before crashing through a window.

"I've never seen or heard anything like it," said Mr Thorne. "It felt cataclysmic."

image captionDave Thorne said he drank a cup of herbal tea to calm down following the "tornado"

Another resident, David Sullivan, said there was damage to the roof of his flat, with many tiles torn off.

"We're used to bad weather here, but we've never had the like of this before," he said.

Martin Young, who also lives in the cliff-top village, said he could feel his house shaking and it was "frightening" for up to 30 seconds.

"It's taken out walls that have been stood for 50 years," he said.

"It's lifted complete sections of heavy fencing and thrown them probably 30-40 metres into a block of flats."

A resident of nearby Ashley said: "It made a sound like a train passing followed by a bang on the roof.

"Three of my neighbour's fence panels have blown out. One has travelled about 20ft (6m) into my garden."

image copyrightDavid Sullivan
image captionRoof tiles were ripped off a flat in Barton-on-Sea
image copyrightDave Thorne
image captionThe tornado is said to have struck at about 04:00 GMT

Kerry Bacon tweeted about hearing a "terrific noise that sent the cats scatty".

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BBC Weather presenter Simon King said radar images showing conditions at about 04:00 would support residents' claims of a tornado.

A Met Office spokeswoman concurred that the overnight weather conditions in the area were conducive to tornadoes forming, but could not confirm if it was without video evidence.

There are thought to be about 30 tornadoes in the UK each year, according to the Met Office.

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image captionA 6ft-high (1.8m) wall was brought down overnight

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