HIGHWAYS teams were clearing several fallen trees today (January 26) throughout West Sussex after seeing ‘Mother Nature at her most frightening’.
The sudden strong winds caught many people by surprise yesterday evening.
Paul Griffiths, of Clymping, was driving back from near Guildford, when he had a narrow escape near Wisborough Green.
“I was coming home from Bramley with my father and son in the car, as we reached the back of Fishers Farm a huge section of barn roof came across the field at us, we missed it by about 15ft or so.
“The roof was blowing like a piece of paper in the wind,” he said, adding it had ‘huge lumps of wood attached’.
“It covered the entire road and into the next field over the road,” he said. “About six of us tried to move it but we had no luck so called the police.
“It was only after the event we realised how lucky we were. If it hit us, despite being in a large car, I’m sure we would have been seriously injured or worse.
“The striking thing was how localised it was, I don’t know if it was a tornado as some have described but it was Mother Nature at her most frightening and a day we’ll never forget.”
Active cold front behind the damage
A spokeswoman from the Met Office explained the unusually-strong winds.
“Yesterday afternoon an active cold front swept very quickly southeastwards across Wales and England, with squally winds gusting to nearly 70 mph, heavy rain, thunder and hail affecting many places for a very short time, bringing down trees and causing minor damage.
“Tornadoes are such small-scale features that their effects are not recorded by standard meteorological observation networks and rely on eyewitness footage, accounts and damage inspections by meteorological experts for absolute certainty,” she said.
“However, eye-witness descriptions and photos of the damage suggest that a number of isolated small tornadoes could well have occurred around West Sussex.”