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Swanley pictures reveal damage caused by Beech Avenue 'mini tornado'
PICTURES from the scene show the damage caused by a mini tornado in Swanley on Wednesday night.
The tiny twister is said to have struck Beech Avenue at around 8.45pm sending roof tiles flying, snapping a TV aerial and causing a garden wall to collapse on a resident's car.
Concerned neighbours rang News Shopper after the freak event, which they say was over in a matter of minutes but clearly left behind a small trail of destruction.
Ann Street, 56, said: "There was a terrific wooshing sound down the chimney.
"I didn't think it was that bad but in the morning I woke and saw all the damage."
While Mrs Street's home escaped largely unscathed, the housewife rang neighbour Rose Blake, 87, at 6.30am to alert her to the state of the pensioner's garden, which was filled with tiles from the roof of the semi-detached house next door.
Mrs Blake said: "I only thought it was thunder but it must have been a mini tornado. My front garden was like confetti."
An elderly resident of nearby Oakleigh Close, who does wish to be named, got in touch to say how "scary" but "exciting" the "surreal experience" was.
He said: "Around 8.45pm there was the most astonishingly loud roar, it felt like the windows were going to be sucked out.
"I looked out to see clouds of leaves going past horizontally, so so fast, past the window.
"There was a moment of disbelief then realisation at what was happening.
The pensioner said it was all over "within a blink" and he was lucky there was no damage to his home.
He added: "It must have been tremendous with Beech Avenue getting the full force."
A Met Office spokesman says it may well have been a small tornado, but it is very difficult to officially confirm such events in the UK unless pictures are taken or the winds pass right over a weather station.
He said: "We do see about 30 tornadoes a year in the UK but obviously they are nowhere near as powerful as the type we see in America.
"For a tornado to form you need unstable air and there was some around last night (Wednesday 13) so it's not impossible that there was a funnel cloud."
He explained funnel clouds are rotating columns of air emerging from clouds that can often be mistaken for tornadoes but to become full blown twisters, they have to make contact with the ground.
Do you know anything about a tornado in Swanley on Wedensday night? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org , ring 01689 885702 or tweet @NewsShopperTim