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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 November 2006, 08:33 GMT
Small 'tornado' batters village
Damage outside house

A Ceredigion village has been hit overnight by what is being described as a small tornado.

A clean-up is under way after emergency services were called to Bow Street, north of Aberystwyth, at 0130 GMT.

More than 20 houses were affected with roofs and chimneys blown off, while electricity cables have been brought down and trees uprooted.

Residents said houses shook before the storm hit, sounding like a train crashing. No one has been injured.

A Dyfed-Powys Police spokesman said: "It was apparent that what is believed to be a tornado had struck parts of the village.

There was an amazing bang at about 1.15am - it was like a train running out of control.
Villager Gwynfor Davies

"Commercial and residential premises, vehicles and caravans were damaged." Kevin Walsh, the owner of a bungalow which had its chimney ripped off by high winds, said: "At quarter past one this morning I heard a rumble coming, didn't know what it was, and then it hit the house.

"The house shook, I heard a crash. I came outside and found the (chimney) stack here on the ground.

"It hit us first and then sliced a path through the village.

"Across the road there's a house there whose roof has been taken off. Further down another roof's been taken off. "

Gwynfor Davies, whose house is on the main road through the village, said: "There was an amazing bang at about 1.15am - it was like a train running out of control.

Upturned caravan
A caravan was upturned and trees were brought down

"Within about four minutes it had gone. I rushed outside to see the chimney had been taken off the roof and it was on the road. When that hit the road it was like a bomb going off."

He added he believed thousands of pounds worth of damage had been caused to his house.

Wayne Clarke who lives on the village's Maes y Fechan estate said: "One of my bedroom windows was blown in but luckily no-one was in the room at the time.

"The only way I can describe the noise was it was like thunder. Tiles were blown off my roof, four of my neighbours' cars were damaged."

The main road through Bow Street - the A487 - was closed for four hours while the properties were made safe and the highways authority cleared debris.

Council highways officer Andy Dunn said: "A number of cars have been damaged with falling debris.

"A caravan's been turned over, part of a roof's been taken off and I believe there's a few trees which have fallen across the railway line from Machynlleth to Aberystwyth."

A mobile building was blown 100 metres over the rail line onto a children's swing
A mobile building was blown over the rail line onto a children's swing

British Transport Police said a railway bridge has been damaged and about half a mile of track through the village has been littered with debris.

It is thought the line between Aberystwyth and Borth could be closed for much of the day.

A spokesperson for the Met Office said it was too early to confirm whether it was a tornado that had hit the village.

A spokesperson said: "It's very difficult to tell at this stage - we really need to see the impact in the daylight.

"It often leaves a trail mark if it is a tornado. It's certainly a possibility."

But John Mason, a member of Tornado and Storm Research Organisation which investigates tornadoes and extreme weather in the UK, said it was "quite a significant tornado".

"Although I haven't finished my investigation yet I think it was about a force three tornado. That's one less than the tornado that hit Birmingham last year which was a force four to five, " said Mr Mason, from Machynlleth.




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
"This is what the aftermath of a tornado looks like"



SEE ALSO
In pictures: 'Tornado' in village
28 Nov 06 |  In Pictures
Tornado throws ponies in the air
27 Nov 06 |  Hampshire
How a tornado is formed
08 Sep 06 |  Science/Nature
'Mini-tornado' strikes camp site
29 Aug 06 |  Mid Wales
The art of safe storm-chasing
19 Sep 04 |  Mid Wales

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