Data and anecdotal evidence collected by the Wroxall Weather centre points to a small tornado across the Isle of Wight on Friday night.
David Carrington spent the night reading equipment and instruments and has more evidence to gather but says it is entirely possible.
He told Isle of Wight Radio that his instruments predicted a tornado last week but it came to nothing. He says conditions were similar last night:
We had reports of almost golf-ball size hailstones.
We’re still going through the data now. We had some problems with power cuts. But what we have pieced together so far and we’ve studied the atmospheric data…we think it’s quite possible the Island may have had a mini-tornado.
We’re only talking about a small one. We’re not talking about something from the film Twister.
Blowing In Circles
Islander Karoline Goss from Apse Heath told Isle of Wight Radio:
It was scary in Apse Heath, the noise was tremendous. The wind seemed to come from nowhere. We had hailstones blown through our bathroom into our hallway! It was non stop thunder and lightening at the same time as the hail. When I looked out of the window there were things blowing around in circles. It was all over in about 2 minutes, but left us shaken for ages after.
One Islander from Bathingbourne, near Apse Heath said:
It was round about 10:35. We had a massive, massive hailstorm. It just sounded like it was going to come through the roof. A post and rail fence had been uprooted and smashed to smithereens. One huge leylandii tree came crashing through the fence…A huge 20ft field shelter in bits over about a 20ft hedge and a ditch over in a field the other side.
A downed 40ft tree and outbuilding scattered across two fields, Bathingbourne.
Flooding and damage
Fire crews attended flooding incidents in Lake, Sandown, Ryde and Shanklin. They were also called to an incident in Bathingbourne Lane, Godshill where a stable block roof was blown off. They made the structure safe. A spokeswoman for the fire service told Isle of Wight Radio that the caller had suspected tornado winds passing through.
The Island has experienced the phenomenon before, including a tornado that caused damage to buildings on the Somerton Industrial Estate on the outskirts of Cowes. They are relatively common here, but on a much smaller scale that those experience by stormchasers in the United States.
Storm over Sandown – by Andy from Newport
Holes in Tents
People who experienced Friday night’s storm included holidaymakers in tents who have woken to find holes in their canvas, people whose garden furniture was smashed or displaced and motorists who described branches down, eerie conditions and, on the Downs Road, rain and hail so hard and sudden that cars came to a standstill.
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