Did a tornado hit Skegness in 1999?
A DRAMATIC incident reminiscent of scenes from America’s west coast was seen in Skegness on Monday when a “twister” hurricane was thought to have made its way across the Lincolnshire coast towards the town.
But don’t worry, it was a perfectly harmless event which was not even remotely similar to the scale of phenomena witnessed in America.
Matt Larg, Brian Hawes, and Tony Hogg were working on Skegness Industrial Estate when they saw a funnel of wind moving towards Skegness near Gibraltar Point. It was seen during the rain on Monday at about 3pm, and lasted between 10 and 20 minutes.
Matt, a welder for Peter Harding (Fabrications), said although it was quite small he had never seen anything like it. He said: “It’s the first time I’ve seen one ‘in the flesh.’ I’ve seen loads on TV and in pictures, but to see one in real life is quite amazing.”
Tony Hogg estimated it was about two miles away. He said: “It was amazing. Absolutely fantastic. The chance of seeing one in this country is slim, it’s very rare. When you tell people what you’ve seen they say ‘Yes, okay.’ They don’t believe you.”
Tony, who runs Ambassador Limousines, even feels the twister may have been capable of doing damage, if it had been close to anything.
He said: “Looking at the tail it went right
down to the floor, so possibly, yes, it could have done some damage. Obviously we couldn’t see the tail when it went behind trees and things like that, but it may have been capable of doing damage, depending on how powerful it was.”
However, nothing had been seen by the two wardens at Gibraltar Point Nature Reserve, according to warden’s secretary Doreen Lilly. The centre compiled weather reports for the weather bureau, she said, and it would have been noted.
She also said that local fisherman Ian Wharton had told her it was just a water spout. It was a regular occurrence and nothing to get excited about, he had said.
Neil Walker, an observer at Leeds Weather Centre, said that they had had no other
reports of a twister in the area, but he said the weather conditions were conducive to a small twister.
He said: “We had thunder reported in the eastern area, and thunder is one scenario where a hurricane would be feasible. There was an awful lot of rain, 16 millimetres in Wainfleet, and rain associated with thunder is conducive to hurricanes.”
He said Great Britain was above average with between 80 and 100 twisters a year, mainly in the summer months. They often took place in the countryside, but he said if it had taken place over the water it was a water spout.
Did you see anything near the Lincolnshire coast on Monday afternoon, or did you take a photo?
NOW do you believe us? That was the cry from Skegness residents this week as the Standard was inundated with sightings of the twister in response to last week’s story.
As soon as Friday’s paper went on sale, accounts of sightings began to flood in. They varied with sightings near both Gibraltar Point and the sea front, and others seeing two smaller ones which dispersed quickly to leave the main one.
Skegness man Mr Roger King managed to get a photo, taken outside his house in Sunningdale Drive. He saw the twister at about 3pm, just before the rain started, and he says it lasted for about 10 or 15 minutes.
He said: “I was mowing the lawn at the time and I just said I’d better get inside because it’s about to chuck it down with rain. That’s when I first saw the twister.”
He says it kept changing size and moving up into the clouds and then down again. Mr King also saw one last year, at Church Lane, Winthorpe.
He said: “I stopped underneath it and had a look. They make a kind of helicopter sound as they spin in the sky.”
Mrs Anne Pollock was at her daughter’s home on Buckthorns Avenue, Skegness, looking out of the window when she saw two tornadoes. She thinks one came from around Gibraltar Point and looked as though it was sucked up into the clouds.
It was followed by a smaller tornado just before the downpour, which also looked as though it was being sucked up into the clouds and taken out to sea. “It was really fascinating,” she said.
Mrs Cynthia Lee, of Croft Lane, Wainfleet, said: “I just want to say in response to your article – yes I did see it. I didn’t want people saying those men who saw it were just seeing things. I saw it but when I told my husband he said ‘No, you must have been mistaken.”
“It was amazing, quite spectacular. I was watching it for a good 10 or 15 minutes.”
Mr Peter Ladums took a photo from his garden in Croft Close, Wainfleet. He saw it at bout 3pm, near Gibraltar Point. He said: “My neighbour, Cyril Beardshaw, saw it and me round and told me about it. He saw three, but when we went out there was only one. As I got my camera out, it was beginning to disperse.”
Mr Beardshaw said the three twisters were moving towards Skegness. He said: “There was more or less a blanket of cloud. There was one big twister and two smaller ones.”
David Taylor, proprietor of Tattoos by Dave, saw the twister from the pier. He said: “When I saw it I was standing on the side of the pier. It first appeared over the Embassy Centre and then moved over Bottons before moving out towards the sea. It kept getting longer and shorter, and then longer and shorter again.”
His wife Lisa saw it too, from their house, and he said their son Kane rushed round to tell him and told him “we’ve just seen a twisting cloud.”
Mrs Wendy Kemble, of Chapel, said: “I was in the car park at Skegness Cricket ground when I saw a tail of cloud at the end of Richmond Drive. As the cloud moved along it took on a cylindrical shape.”
Mrs Ann Cook, a driver with North Shore Taxis, said she saw it briefly near Gibraltar Point while driving along the sea front on Monday afternoon.
Thirteen-year-old Skegness School pupil Matthew Smith said he saw it with about 14 other pupils and two teachers from the school playground. He said: “It was a bit scary at first because it looked like it was coming straight towards us.”