Havoc as ‘freak storm’ rips through Horsham district - but was it a mini tornado?

Horsham tornado
Horsham tornado

An 85-year-old woman was assisted out of her Horsham bungalow by firefighters after a reports of a small tornado which had ripped through West Sussex on Saturday (January 25).

Emergency services arrived on the scene after a chimney collapsed and became embedded in the roof.

The occupant’s great granddaughter Rachael Kearley said: “Firemen were out in force sorting out the havoc that a freak storm brought to Horsham.

“The Horsham firemen worked hard and efficiently to remove the chimney, showing their true professionalism. A job well done!”

Meanwhile staff at the family adventure park Fishers Farm in Wisborough Green said it was ‘a miracle that no-one was injured’.

The farm’s haybarn was propelled into and over the B2133.

Owner Tim Rollings said: “Several roof sections are caught 30ft high in trees. Extensive damage has been caused to two cars parked on a driveway thirty yards from where the barn stood.

“Some roof sections were embedded up to two feet in the ground. The road was closed for 45minutes while Fishers Farm staff, neighbours and motorists cleared the debris.

“It was nothing short of a miracle that no-one was injured.”

But weatherman Ian Michaelwaite, of MBC Netweather, said Saturday was very stormy but it is impossible to say if it was a tornado.

He said: “There were a few reports from different areas of possible tornados on Saturday leading to property and tree damage as well as leaving hundreds of people without electricity.

“It’s possible it was a small tornado, but without video evidence or a proper site examination to look at the type of damage it’s impossible to say if it was a tornado.

“It was definitely a very stormy afternoon, with a squall line passing over the area, which delivered some absolutely torrential rain, large hail, lightning and a sudden very strong, gusty wind.

“This wind, combined with the saturated ground had the strength to topple trees, as well as damage buildings and fences, some of which will already have been weakened by the seemingly never ending period of wind and rain over the past six weeks.”