A tornado in West Sussex has left a trail of destruction after ripping off the roof of a family home.
Severe storm winds in Littlehampton tore the roof off the property as heavy rainfall flooded towns along the coast on Saturday evening.
The Tornado and Storm Research Organisation (TORRO) confirmed a tornado with a T4 rating – meaning ‘severe’, with winds between 115-136 mph – had hit the area.
Residents of Wick were examining damage on Sunday morning after the suspected tornado scattered debris across a wide area.
Resident Natalie Brees posted on Facebook: ‘It has blown a massive chunk of my roof off.’
West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service evacuated people from their homes after concrete fence posts were ripped out of the ground.
Firefighters on the scene said they believe the damage was caused by the second tornado to hit Wick in the last few weeks.
Large areas of Littlehampton are underwater and there is severe flooding in Hastings, East Sussex.
Sussex Police were also called out to help with the emergency response.
Researchers from TORRO The Tornado and Storm Research Organisation were looking into reports of a second tornado in West Sussex.
A spokesman for Sussex Police said: ‘Police were called to a report of a damaged window and garden furniture at a property in Gloucester Road, Littlehampton, at around 7.30pm on Saturday (28 October).
‘Officers attended and engaged with the resident.
‘Following an assessment the damage was believed to have been caused by high winds.’
A mini tornado moved cars and blew out windows leaving at least one person injured in the same town last month.
Wick resident Becki Martin said she had never seen anything like it as cars and homes were damaged in her street.
The 32-year-old said cars and even vans were moved by the wind.
‘We were all watching the storm out of the lounge window when suddenly the wind picked up incredibly fast.
‘The van on the road opposite us moved and a tree had come down. My sister heard another tree going down as well.
‘We’ve had 20 car windows smash.
‘It’s either a freak storm or mini tornado. The wind got insanely high for a minute or two. I’ve never seen anything like it.’
On top of that, telephone lines were blown down with police saying they were assisting after reports of phone lines hitting a house in Littlehampton.
A spokesman for the force said: ‘Sussex Police supported the fire and ambulance service in North Street, Littlehampton, following reports of phone lines collapsing onto a property at around 7pm.
‘Officers closed the road and worked with other agencies to ensure the safety of the public.
‘No injuries were reported.’
Meanwhile, the UK is braced for another deluge of rain over the next few days as wet and windy weather is expected to build up to a ‘nasty storm’ later in the week.
The Environment Agency has issued more than 70 flood warnings ahead of the UK being hit by Storm Ciaran on Wednesday while yellow weather warnings for rain have been issued by the Met Office from Monday until Thursday.
Gusts of 80mph are possible along the south coast of England, with 20 to 25mm of rain expected across southern and western areas, but potentially up to 40 to 60mm over higher ground, the Met Office said.
On Monday, the worst of the weather is likely to hit the south coast of England, much of Wales and parts of Northern Ireland.
The forecaster advises the latest rains could lead to disruption to roads and public transport while already flood-affected areas following Storm Babet could get worse.
Flooding was seen across Sussex during the weekend, including the Priory Meadow Shopping Centre in Hastings, which was evacuated on Saturday with people posting on social media showing deep floodwater coming through the entrance.
On Sunday, a caravan park in Bognor Regis was also underwater with the town’s Tesco supermarket car park flooded while a house had its roof ripped off in heavy winds that residents described as like a ‘tornado’.
Marco Petagna, a Met Office meteorologist, said: ‘We’ve had various warnings in force across the UK over the last few days and there are plenty more being issued for the next couple of days.
‘The main focus in the next day or two is towards the east of Scotland and north-east England where there is a yellow rain warning until 3am.
‘There will be persistent rain up there and then the focus for heavy showers will be across parts of southern and south eastern England and south Wales as well parts of Northern Ireland with some heavy and sudden showers as well.’
He said that Tuesday was expected to be still unsettled but quieter before heavy winds and longer spells of rain develop on Wednesday night into Thursday as Storm Ciaran arrives.
He said: ‘There are possible gusts of 80 to 90 miles an hour in some exposed southern areas. It’s probably quite a nasty storm this one.’
Kate Marks, flood duty manager at the Environment Agency, said: ‘We urge people to stay safe on the coast and to remember to take extreme care on coastal paths and promenades.
‘Flooding of low-lying coastal roads is also possible and people must avoid driving through floodwater, as just 30cm of flowing water is enough to move your car.’
The weather is expected to worsen as the week progresses, with rain warnings in place until Wednesday and a ‘deep area of low pressure’ set to arrive on Thursday which has been named by the Met Office as Storm Ciaran, which will bring strong winds and heavy rain to southern parts of England and Wales.
Met Office Deputy chief meteorologist Chris Almond said: ‘Winds associated with Storm Ciaran are likely to gust to 80mph along the south coast of England, with a small risk of somewhere exposed seeing 90mph, and winds could even gust up to 50 or 60 mph further inland.
‘This deep, low-pressure system will also bring heavy rain to much of the UK, but the heaviest rain is expected in southern and western areas, with 20 to 25mm quite widely across the region but up to 40 to 60mm potentially over higher ground.
‘Heavy and persistent rain will fall on to already saturated ground bringing a risk of further impacts such as flooding in areas that are already struggling to clean up from the heavy rainfall we have seen over the last week or so.’