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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 May, 2005, 10:41 GMT 11:41 UK
Mini-tornado strikes Lancashire
Tornado over Hoghton - picture courtesy of James Holden
The tornado damaged about 30 homes in the village
A mini-tornado has hit a Lancashire village, damaging up to 30 homes.

Witnesses in Hoghton said it touched down just after 1900 BST on Monday, scattering garden ornaments and debris.

Lancashire Fire Service, which was called to about 20 properties in the village, said roofs were damaged and tiles blown off.

Up to 30 homes suffered mostly minor damage, said police, who have been helping with the clear-up. Some power lines were also damaged.

A large trampoline flew through the air and a garden shed made its way down the road
Martin Ball
Leading firefighter

Fire crews were called to the area to repair roofs and make buildings safe.

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service leading firefighter Martin Ball, who was first on the scene, said: "We had trees falling on to properties and chimney stacks collapsing and garage roofs ripped off.

"There were things being sucked up into the air. A large trampoline flew through the air and a garden shed made its way down the road.

"Roof slates were thrown a fair distance away from the properties they belonged to.

"It was very bizarre. It was like a gale, a very bad winter storm, but it was confined to the very local area.

"It was lucky that no one was hurt, given the amount of damage there was."

House damaged by the tornado - picture courtesy of James Holden
Several houses lost roof tiles

Met Office national forecaster Helen Griffin said wind speeds could reach up to 300mph in tornados, but last night's was smaller than those found in places like the US.

On Tuesday people in the village were patching up after the freak storm.

James Holden, 28, an IT worker, was at home in the village with his wife and their four-month-old son.

Mr Holden said: "The rain started building and building and it looked like hailstones and got louder and louder, smashing against the windows.

"We then saw chunks of debris flying past the windows and then someone's garage roof went past the window.

"It was a bit frightening because it was very loud and when you saw things fly through the window, you realised it was something more than a hailstorm."


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