Freak storm sweeps across Lee-on-the-Solent

BLOWN OVER The aftermath of the brief tornado in Lee-on-the-Solent. Picture: Steven Halford
BLOWN OVER The aftermath of the brief tornado in Lee-on-the-Solent. Picture: Steven Halford

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FREAK weather hit Lee-on-the-Solent, ripping fence panels from concrete posts and lifting a tyre high up into the air.

People have described the weather as a ‘mini tornado’ after it hit the area at about 12.30pm on Wednesday.

It lasted approximately 15 seconds.

Steven Halford, 37, of Seymour Road said: ‘All of a sudden the rain came down, it was really torrential.

‘We heard this loud whooshing noise.

‘We looked out the front and I said to my friend “it sounds like a tornado”.

‘All of the leaves just shot up into the air and swirled around.

‘There was a loud bang at the back of the house. My garden was destroyed.

‘Every fence panel had blown out.

‘My neighbour’s greenhouse was smashed.

‘It’s obliterated all my fences.

‘One minute it was drizzle and the next it was like a hurricane.’

Brett Duke is general manager of Fine Cars.

He said: ‘I have never seen anything like it.

‘The wind blew the rain sideways and round the back of our building.

‘It lifted a car tyre up over the roof of the building into the road.

‘Tiles were coming off the roof of a couple of bungalows.

‘It was over in a matter of seconds.

‘It was a bit of a freak weather phenomenon and was a bit out of the ordinary.

‘It was pretty unbelievable – it was very brief but quite extreme weather. It came straight off the seafront onto land.’

Forecaster Charlie Powell from the Met Office said there were some very strong winds of around 48mph alongside heavy showers.

But he said he was unable to confirm that it was a tornado.

‘We’ve had an area of low pressure making its way across the UK,’ he said.

‘It’s given quite a bit of rain and quite showery conditions following. It was pretty heavy rainfall.

‘It’s been a windy day and there was a really intense band of rain making its way across that area at about that time.

‘But I can’t confirm or deny any kind of small-scale tornado activity.’