A freak tornado tore across Bermuda last night wreaking havoc in its path.
Residences and premises as far apart as Warwick, Devonshire and Hamilton were hit as the high winds and rain storm suddenly struck around 6.30 p.m.
Spice Valley School, construction sites, homes and even passing motorists were caught in the "twister'' as it span over in a matter of minutes.
At Spice Valley School, anxious night school students sat tight as the winds shattered windows, sending glass flying into classrooms.
Spice Valley deputy principal Earl Hart said the storm also uprooted ancient trees, hurled bleachers across the playing field, blew down hoardings, overturned a construction hut and damaged a stairwell.
He said: "It was a real mess. It only lasted 30 seconds but it made an impression while it was here.
"When the windows shattered it was scary for the people at night school. No one was hurt but somebody could have been seriously injured with glass flying all over the place.'' Broker Mark Riihiluoma had a lucky escape when rubble landed on his car as the twister tore some of the roof from 200-year-old Cave House in Harbour Road but left the ceiling and inside intact.
His fiancee Ceri Goom said: "It was lucky he wasn't on a bike. He would have been killed. The front side of the car is caved in and the windscreen was smashed. But he's O.K.
"Now he's more worried about whether the car is insured for Acts of God. It was an expensive drive to work but it could have been so much worse.'' Neighbour Heather Brewer said Cave House owners the Comeau family were unaware the twister had taken off the roof until neighbours told them.
She said: "They were in having tea. Neighbours went in and said: `Have you seen your roof?''' And Mrs. Brewer had also been caught up in the eye of the storm.
She said: "I was in the car with my ten-year-old son Miles when debris with huge palm branches came flying across the yard. There was wind and rain.
Tornado causes damage "I knew something was up when I saw stuff flying. It drove a path through our hedge into the next door neighbour's yard. But I didn't see any twist.'' Mrs. Brewer saw the basketball pole in her yard which is made of half a foot thick p.v.c. pipe bend in half.
She added: "Ironically the Comeau's house and my house were both due to take part in the Houses and Gardens open house tours for the Bermuda Garden Club.
But they are in a bit of mess now.'' It's thought the twister entered from the water, passed through several gardens, attacked the Cave House roof before hitting the water and temporarily flattening a 30 ft sail boat.
In Hamilton, Police reported damage to construction sites on North and Angle Street.
The Bermuda Weather Service said it was likely the winds were either a tornado or other powerful downdraft associated with a line of thunderstorms passing Bermuda.
Duty forecaster James Buxton said: "It was quite an active band of showers that moved through which could easily have spawned an isolated tornado.
"Tornadoes can be very damaging. Often you find that it was the change in wind speed that would cause damage.'' Hitting the roof: The twister tore tiles off 200-year-old Cave House in Harbour Road.