Family 'terrified' after suspected tornado destroys garden and damages home

Joshua, Bernice, Richard and Callum Higgins at their home in Denton which has been wrecked by that t

Joshua, Bernice, Richard and Callum Higgins at their home in Denton which has been wrecked by that they believe to have been a minature tornado. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden/Archant

A family was left “terrified” after a suspected tornado destroyed their garden, pulled tiles off their roof and “snapped trees like twigs”. 

Bernice and Richard Higgins said they were startled when their power cut out and what sounded like a "jet engine" hovering above their home in Denton on Sunday evening [February 20].

It started at around 6.30pm, when Mrs Higgins said she saw a flash of green and blue outside of their windows in Norwich Road and then an "almighty roar", which lasted for a about minute.

Joshua, Bernice, Richard and Callum Higgins at their home in Denton which has been wrecked by that t

Joshua, Bernice, Richard and Callum Higgins at their home in Denton which has been wrecked by that they believe to have been a minature tornado. - Credit: Danielle Booden/Archant

Although the family were braced for the impact of Storm Franklin, which remained over Norfolk until 1pm on Monday, February 21, Mr Higgins said they had never experienced something so powerful.

The event had pulled down a live power line which left the community in darkness and police were called to secure the scene. 

Mr Higgins and members of the public also helped to remove fallen trees from the road, but they wouldn't realise the full impact of the storm until sunrise.

The Higgins' family home in Denton which has been wrecked by what they believe to have been a mini t

The Higgins' family home in Denton which has been wrecked by what they believe to have been a mini tornado. - Credit: Danielle Booden

The father-of-two said: "It was pretty terrifying. But it was the noise which scared us the most.

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"Where we live we have a field to the rear of us, which is open for miles. So we are used to strong winds, but we have never experienced anything like this.

"We are the worst hit house. It looks like a bomb has gone off in the back garden. Our shed, green house and fencing are completely destroyed.

The Higgins' family home in Denton which has been wrecked by what they believe to have been a mini t

The Higgins' family home in Denton which has been wrecked by what they believe to have been a mini tornado. - Credit: Danielle Booden/Archant

"We have had 90mph winds before and it has been fine. But looking at the destruction and trees snapped like twigs, we are convinced it was a tornado. It was surreal."

Mr Higgins and his neighbours say they are convinced that it was more than just strong winds which passed over their homes.

One of the trees which had its top blown off at the Higgins' family home in Denton during what they

One of the trees which had its top blown off at the Higgins' family home in Denton during what they believe to have been a mini tornado. - Credit: Danielle Booden/Archant

And now Dan Holley, a meteorologist at Weatherquest, has confirmed that it is possible what they experienced was a tornado.

"Based on where their postcode is and looking at the radar pattern, it would put them in a favourable area for a tornado," he said.

"Winds on this line were gusting at 70 to 80mph quite easily, regardless of whether there were any tornados.

The Higgins' family home in Denton which has been wrecked by what they believe to have been a mini t

The Higgins' family home in Denton which has been wrecked by what they believe to have been a mini tornado. - Credit: Danielle Booden

"But what you tend to find when a tornado has hit is very concentrated but significant damage in a small area – which is what this sounds like.

"It would be hard to confirm either way. But this is quite convincing."

The Higgins' family home in Denton which has been wrecked by what they believe to have been a mini t

The Higgins' family home in Denton which has been wrecked by what they believe to have been a mini tornado. - Credit: Danielle Booden/Archant

The Higgins' family home in Denton which has been wrecked by what they believe to have been a mini t

The Higgins' family home in Denton which has been wrecked by what they believe to have been a mini tornado. - Credit: Danielle Booden/Archant

The top of one of the trees which blew off at the Higgins' family home in Denton during what they be

The top of one of the trees which blew off at the Higgins' family home in Denton during what they believe to have been a mini tornado. - Credit: Archant

Damage to one of the Higgins' family cars at their home in Denton which was caused by roof tiles bei

Damage to one of the Higgins' family cars at their home in Denton which was caused by roof tiles being ripped off of their home in what they believe to have been a mini tornado. - Credit: Danielle Booden/Archant

Joshua, Bernice, Richard and Callum Higgins at their home in Denton which has been wrecked by that t

Joshua, Bernice, Richard and Callum Higgins at their home in Denton which has been wrecked by that they believe to have been a minature tornado. - Credit: Danielle Booden/Archant