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Friday, November 5, 1999 Published at 16:53 GMT


Two injured in 'tornado'

A tornado caused devastation in Sussex last year

High winds left two people injured after causing a trail of destruction on part of England's south coast.

The man and woman were hurt after becoming trapped when two caravans toppled over in the Calshot Spit area of Southampton.

They were taken to Southampton General Hospital after being freed by fire officers.

Approximately 20 beach huts were flattened by the winds, which prompted numerous calls to police and coastguards.

Vehicles were also damaged, with the windows blown out of a 52-seater coach.

Beach huts demolished

A Meteorological Office spokesman said the conditions could have been a result of a tornado caused by a band of heavy rain working its way west.

Sergeant Dave Hobbs of Hampshire Police said: "The injuries to the couple are not thought to be life threatening, although the fire service was needed to cut the lady out of the caravan because she was trapped.

"The other main problem we have is that the personal effects contained in the demolished beach huts are blowing all over the place, along with the damage to vehicles."

A spokesman for the Met Office said a ship had reported a gust of 58 knots, or 67 mph, but they would have to rely on eyewitness reports to confirm whether a tornado had formed.

He said: "It is a possibility that a tornado could have caused the damage in the Calshot Spit area, because they are a phenomenon that do occur in this country.

"We cannot rule it out, but what we can say for certain is that the winds have been very strong in the area."


Homes in parts of Cumbria in northern England had to be evacuated because of heavy rain.

More than 20 schools were closed as the heavy rain hit the county, while the fire service was called in to help evacuate homes in villages and towns.

Many roads were affected, with electricity teams unable to restore power in some parts because roads were impassable.

The Environment Agency has warned that large areas of Wales are at risk from flooding because of rising river levels.

The agency issued an amber warnings to people living in parts of North Wales, south-east Wales and south-west Wales.

Amber warning alerts mean large areas of low-lying land near rivers and the sea, and isolated areas, are at risk.

Yellow warnings - which indicate some low-lying areas are at risk - have also been issued to other parts of the same areas.

Environment Agency Wales spokeswoman Kathryn Corcoran said people in areas at risk "need to keep listening out for warnings and move sentimental items to upstairs rooms".

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