Tornado hits Berkshire estate

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A CLEAN-UP operation was under way yesterday after a freak tornado ripped through a housing estate in Berkshire.

Garden walls were flattened and fencing panels tossed into the air when the mini-tornado swept through Lower Earley, near Reading. One motorist had a lucky escape when a fir tree was torn in two, blown across the road and sent spearing through his passenger window. He careered off the road as other cars swerved to avoid him.

Torrential rain hammered down and hurricane force winds sent garden furniture, roof tiles and bricks spiralling into the air.

Les Wise, 50, watched from his kitchen window as a 90ft garden wall linking five terraced homes was brought crashing down. "It just went over all in one go as if someone had grabbed hold of both ends and just twisted it," he said. He described how trees were bent double by the high winds, but said the drama was over within 15 or 20 seconds.

Police and emergency services were called to the scene and removed rubble and fencing from the middle of the road, and firefighters made roofs safe.