Swanley pictures reveal damage caused by Beech Avenue 'mini tornado'

News Shopper: A wall brought down on a car by the mini tornado A wall brought down on a car by the 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  tim.macfarlan@london.newsquest.co.uk , ring 01689 885702 or tweet @NewsShopperTim

Comments (12)

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11:21am Fri 14 Sep 12

StaffsStormSpotter says...

Please...there is no such thing as a "mini" tornado or a "tiny" twister. Its either a tornado or it isnt. The size and intensity is measured using either the EF scale (in the USA) or the ETI Scale (SkywarnUK) or the T-Scale (TORRO) in the UK
Please...there is no such thing as a "mini" tornado or a "tiny" twister. Its either a tornado or it isnt. The size and intensity is measured using either the EF scale (in the USA) or the ETI Scale (SkywarnUK) or the T-Scale (TORRO) in the UK StaffsStormSpotter

11:37am Fri 14 Sep 12

cookster says...

"Strong wind blows down badly-built wall near car"

There's your headline!
"Strong wind blows down badly-built wall near car" There's your headline! cookster

11:43am Fri 14 Sep 12

Lukeyboy says...

2 words.

Insurance Job
2 words. Insurance Job Lukeyboy

2:46pm Fri 14 Sep 12

Guess who ;) AGAIN ! says...

I must say the concerned Beech Avenue residents look 18 carat.
I must say the concerned Beech Avenue residents look 18 carat. Guess who ;) AGAIN !

11:55am Sat 15 Sep 12

TheEverardedbutt says...

Does anyone else think the missing tile picture looks like someone has broken the tiles whilst walking on them to remove the tiles from the neatly empty area 2 courses down from the ridge tiles?
Does anyone else think the missing tile picture looks like someone has broken the tiles whilst walking on them to remove the tiles from the neatly empty area 2 courses down from the ridge tiles? TheEverardedbutt

10:11am Sun 16 Sep 12

Hazel1 says...

We live in the street behind Beech Ave and experienced the same. Was over in a couple of minutes but parts of our garden were trashed. Metal parasol twisted and bent at 90 degrees, hammock lifted and moved across the garden, plant so heavy we can't move it thrown across the patio etc. We had concluded it was some kind of small tornado- only explanation for the bizarre pattern of damage. Only a handful of items were touched but these were completely wrecked.
What a shame most people immediately assume others are lying when something unusual happens.
We live in the street behind Beech Ave and experienced the same. Was over in a couple of minutes but parts of our garden were trashed. Metal parasol twisted and bent at 90 degrees, hammock lifted and moved across the garden, plant so heavy we can't move it thrown across the patio etc. We had concluded it was some kind of small tornado- only explanation for the bizarre pattern of damage. Only a handful of items were touched but these were completely wrecked. What a shame most people immediately assume others are lying when something unusual happens. Hazel1

10:18am Sun 16 Sep 12

Hazel1 says...

Incidentally, am not a meteorologist so happy to be corrected if tornado is not the right term. However, it was definitely some kind of twister/ funnel cloud. A "normal" strong wind could not have done this.
Incidentally, am not a meteorologist so happy to be corrected if tornado is not the right term. However, it was definitely some kind of twister/ funnel cloud. A "normal" strong wind could not have done this. Hazel1

7:10pm Sun 16 Sep 12

Virtual-Monster says...

Sounds like a few residents over there are eating those cheap baked beans again resulting in 'windy' after effects.
Sounds like a few residents over there are eating those cheap baked beans again resulting in 'windy' after effects. Virtual-Monster

3:52pm Mon 17 Sep 12

dogsbody52 says...

The comments are a joke, It was my house thst lost all the roof tilesdamaging two cars and trashing the back garden in the process, anyone who doest think it hapened should watch the recording on from my cctv camera,s.
Might not be so smug then.
The comments are a joke, It was my house thst lost all the roof tilesdamaging two cars and trashing the back garden in the process, anyone who doest think it hapened should watch the recording on from my cctv camera,s. Might not be so smug then. dogsbody52

11:30pm Mon 17 Sep 12

handymanchris says...

Post a youtube link, ill have a look! ;)
Post a youtube link, ill have a look! ;) handymanchris

1:01pm Tue 18 Sep 12

justjackuk says...

perhaps the natives were after the lead and metal? lol
perhaps the natives were after the lead and metal? lol justjackuk

1:33pm Tue 18 Sep 12

needsalife says...

OH come on. Let them have their tornado. They're not hurting anyone. You too could have your own if you look hard enough.
OH come on. Let them have their tornado. They're not hurting anyone. You too could have your own if you look hard enough. needsalife

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