Roof of Portsmouth family’s home struck by lightning during freak storm

AT WORK Firefighters investigate the lightining strike on the roof of the property in Southdown Road, Cosham.  Picture: Dean Kedward
AT WORK Firefighters investigate the lightining strike on the roof of the property in Southdown Road, Cosham. Picture: Dean Kedward

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A BOLT of lightning caused damage after it struck the roof of a family house during a day of freak weather.

Neighbours in Southdown Road, Cosham, heard the sound of roof tiles breaking as the bolt struck in their road during a sudden heavy thunderstorm at about 11.25am.

INCIDENT Firefighters at Southdown Road, Cosham.  Picture: Dean Kedward

INCIDENT Firefighters at Southdown Road, Cosham. Picture: Dean Kedward

Nine firefighters from Cosham were sent out to repair the chimney and cover a two-foot wide hole at the back of the roof.

Plans were then made for the insurance company to fix the damage.

Though the owners of the house were unharmed others were shaken up by the experience.

Self-employed builder Ian Newman, 56, of Southdown Road, was in his garden watching the thunderstorm when he saw a lightning bolt strike the house, three doors away from where he lives.

‘I was in the garden watching the lightning, it was an amazing sight,’ he said.

‘All of a sudden I saw a bolt crash into the neighbour’s roof and I heard the sound of tiles breaking.

‘It was quite frightening and I was left shaken by what happened. It’s not something you see every day.’

Mr Newman’s television set was damaged by the lightning storms.

He said: ‘When I went back into my house the television had switched itself off and was giving off a burning smell.’

Resident Maureen Freeston, 86, was indoors when she heard a loud crash.

‘It made me jump,’ she said.

‘I was quite frightened and wondered what was on going on.’

About an hour later another bolt of lightning struck the chimney of a house in Eveleigh Road, Farlington, knocking out the power in the house and next door’s property.

Earlier that day a lightning bolt struck a flag pole outside The News Centre, in London Road, Hilsea, causing its flag to tear off and fall on to the grass verge.

A tree at Portsmouth Grammar School Playing Fields in Hilsea split in half and collapsed on nearby trees after lightning struck the top of it.

And Gomer Infant School in Gosport was forced to close this afternoon after prolonged rainfall flooded the school.

Though the clean-up operation is under way the school is not expected to re-open until Monday at the earliest.

Portsmouth has been issued an amber flood warning and residents were told to be prepared for heavy rainfall.

But forecasters say the weather will start to settle on Friday.

Helen Chivers, forecaster for The Met Office, said: ‘The bad weather has been caused by storms lining themselves up along the south coast.

‘They have been pretty violent.’