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Tornado clean up underway in Lowestoft

PUBLISHED: 10:21 20 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:21 06 July 2010

THE big clean-up has been going on all week after parts of Lowestoft were hit by winds approaching 100mph when a tornado struck on Saturday morning.

The town and surrounding area have been left counting the cost following the violent storms in which wind gusts of 90mph recorded in Hemsby.

THE big clean-up has been going on all week after parts of Lowestoft were hit by winds approaching 100mph when a tornado struck on Saturday morning.

The town and surrounding area have been left counting the cost following the violent storms in which wind gusts of 90mph recorded in Hemsby.

However, officials at the Tornado and Storm Research Organisation (TORRO) estimate that gusts would have been in the region of 100mph at Lowestoft because of the damage caused which included trees being blown down, fences and walls demolished, roof tiles ripped off and even a 12ft diameter trampoline being lifted off the ground and crashing into nearby houses.

In an earlier incident, a fast rescue craft that had gone aground at Ness Point, Lowestoft, on Friday evening was blown on to rocks by a severe gust and badly damaged.

Police in Suffolk were mobilised to more than 80 weather-related incidents across the county, ranging from fallen trees and collapsed walls to flooded roads.

Worst hit was Lowestoft when what spectators described as a “mini-tornado” devastated a swathe of the town and brought down a lime tree on to a car in Denmark Road, trapping passenger Christine Rose, of Carlton Colville.

Pc Alex Haverson, who was called to the incident at about 10.30am, said she was “very, very lucky” to escape without serious injuries.

Mrs Rose was trapped in the Proton, which had been driven by her husband Alan, until Lowestoft firefighters cut through the tree that had fallen across the bonnet. The woman was taken by ambulance to the James Paget University Hospital, in Gorleston, as a precaution.

Coach driver Noel Johnson, 58, who lives in Denmark Road, said: “It suddenly went all dark and started to rain heavily. You could see the whirling wind and hail. It looked like a drill, swirling around. My next door neighbour's washing line went up in the air. I suddenly heard a bang and went outside and saw that a large tree had fallen on the car.”

His neighbour Victoria Swan said: “We were in the High Street and had to shelter in a shop. It looked like a tornado. You could see the hail swirling up the town centre.”

Among other incidents, trees were brought down in the town's Kirkley Run and tiles were ripped off roofs in several roads, in some cases damaging vehicles.

An area of the High Street had to be closed when part of a chimney fell from the Crown Hotel and Wickes DIY shop, in Peto Way, was shut when the wind made its front sign unstable.

Fortunately there was no one at the Crown when the storm struck and no one was injured. The hotel was open for business as usual later that day.

The RNLI all-weather Tyne lifeboat from Lowestoft was launched just after 9.20pm on Friday to rescue the fast rescue craft of the offshore support vessel Putford Apollo when it went aground in gales at Ness Point.

Five minutes after launching they reached the 33ft vessel which was stranded on the end of an old jetty.

With winds gusting about 45mph, the three crew were safely rescued after repeated approaches by the lifeboat.

The craft was later blown on to rocks by a severe gust and badly damaged before being craned away on Saturday.

Capt Richard Musgrove, Lowestoft lifeboat operations manager, said: “In my opinion, this was a courageous rescue in the best traditions of the RNLI. Coxswain John Fox and his crew displayed courage, determination and skilful seamanship. The lifeboat was working in very shallow water.”

Residents in Breydon Way, Lowestoft, were left shocked when a 12ft diameter trampoline took off in the high winds demolishing fences and part of a conservatory roof before landing in front of another house.

All week long loss adjusters from insurance companies have been in the area assessing the damage caused.


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