A ‘MINI TORNADO’ ripped roofs from buildings and damaged cars as it swept through an industrial estate.

The weather phenomenon stormed through businesses in Rockfield Street, New Garden Street and Eccles Street, Blackburn, at around 3.30pm yesterday.

Eyewitnesses described the moment roofs were ripped from buildings and cars were hit by flying debris.

Mohamed Sumar, of Global Automobiles, said cars were damaged and sky lights were ripped from one of his warehouses.

He said: “The clouds began to darken and the wind speed picked up. Trees began to move and then we saw the mini tornado come through.

“It was really scary. We could feel the buildings shake and bits of metal hit the walls.

“I don’t quite know how to describe it all.

“It was such a freak thing.”


Business owners also said the adverse weather had affected phone lines in the area.

Mr Sumar’s sister, Salma Ebrahim, said she saw the damage first-hand.

She said: “The sky lights came out of the roof and were swept away.

“We’ve got one car that has its door and window caved in because the roof of another building fell onto it.

“We’ve never seen anything like this before, it felt like a tornado.

“You could see pieces of metal whirling around in the air, it was crazy.

“I’m glad everyone was inside at the time. Otherwise it could have been dangerous.”

CCTV footage showed the moment the roof of Furniture Technique Limited, in New Garden Street, was ripped from its foundations.

Ali Sange, owner of Moffatts Motor Accessories, in New Garden Street, said the walls shook as parts of the roof fell on a car near his business.

He said: “We were fearing for our lives, definitely.

“The weather seemed to suddenly get worse and then it happened, but it went away as quick as it came.

“You don’t get this sort of weather around here, I was very surprised.”

Harry Azad, manager of Practical Car and Van Rental in Bolton Road, said: “The strong wind managed to move my van which weighs around three tons.

“The wind picked the roof off a building like it was a toy house, it looked like a mini tornado or something.

“The heavy metal doors on my business started slamming and opening very aggressively, I was very scared.

“My office started shaking and kept shaking.

“It felt very humid just before it happened, as if it was building up to something.”

A Met Office spokesman said: “It is unlikely that it was a tornado, however it did look like a strong down draft due to heavy pulses of rain.

“This caused the very strong winds with gusts of up to 40 miles per hour.

“You can get this sort of effect at any time of the year.

“The strong winds could feel like someone was in a tornado.”

  • Did you see the mini tornado? If so contact us at neil.athey@nqnw.co.uk.