Families in fear as tornado hits homes in South Wigston
Families have told how they cowered in fear as a tornado ripped through their streets.
Residents of South Wigston looked on in horror as the twister tore tiles off roofs, ripped up fences and threw a 10ft-wide trampoline through the air on Wednesday evening.
Adam Grant, of Double Rail Close, said he hid his two young children in a cupboard under the stairs as the tornado – which he described as the most amazing thing he had ever seen – raged outside.
"I was sitting on the settee watching television with the children at about 6.30pm when I noticed something out of the corner of my eye," he said.
"I looked out of the patio doors into the back garden and saw one of the bushes being blown about a lot. I said to my sons 'Look at that bush, it's going crazy'.
"The next second, I saw the 10ft trampoline we have in the garden had been lifted up and was heading for the doors. It was really scary.
"Luckily, the patio steps stopped the trampoline but it was terrifying. I got the boys under the stairs with the dog who was terrified, too."
The 31-year-old sign maker said the episode lasted about five minutes.
"After everything had calmed down I went outside to a scene of devastation," said Adam. "Roof tiles measuring 2ft by 1ft had been torn off my next door neighbour's house and had smashed in my back garden.
"Fencing and fence posts had been ripped up and flung across the garden.
"If anyone had been hit by either of those they would have been killed."
Adam's 38-year-old next door neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: "I was sitting at my computer when I looked out of the window and saw the neighbour's trampoline being lifted up.
"Then, all of a sudden, the sky went black and there was a massive roaring sound.
"Myself and my partner opened the back door and it was like the scene from The Wizard of Oz when everything was spinning about in the air.
"If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes I wouldn't have believed it. It was incredible.
"I shouted to our 15-year-old daughter, who was upstairs in her room, to come down and get under the table.
"It was very frightening."
The woman said most of her fencing had been demolished, roof tiles had been ripped off and her shed had been twisted out of shape.
"It was totally bizarre," she said.
"At the front, there was lovely sunshine, while at the back garden was a tornado.
"It seems as if the weather had gone totally crazy for few minutes."
A spokeswoman for the Met Office said it had not received a report of a tornado on Wednesday evening.
She said: "We cannot positively identify it as a tornado until agencies have gone out to the area concerned and inspected the damage and reported whether or not it was a tornado."
The spokeswoman said tornadoes formed when the weather was unstable and showery.
She said: "They are narrow, spinning columns of air which reach the ground from thunderstorm clouds.
"As they develop we often see funnel shaped clouds extending from the base of the cloud, and it is only when these funnel clouds touch the ground we get a tornado."
Severe weather forms have caused chaos in the county this year.
Flash floods have flooded roads and seen rivers and lakes burst their banks.
In June, a tornado ripped through Newbold Verdon and Newtown Linford and brought with it hailstones the size of golf balls.
Mercury weatherman Dave Mutton said 373.2mm (14in) of rain had fallen in Leicestershire during June, July and August, making it the soggiest summer since 1912.
A typical summer would see about 170mm.