A ‘supercell’ storm is being investigated by a national tornado research group after a downpour of ‘unbelievably destructive’ hailstones.
The ‘golf ball size’ hailstones hit Tingewick on Saturday evening and with further reports from Twyford and Silverstone, The Tornado & Storm Research Organisation (TORRO) has launched a study into the rare event.
Its director Jonathan Webb is appealing for photographs and stories, ahead of presenting findings at its annual conference in October.
Mr Webb said: “The chances are very small – you get only six of seven of them in 100 years and the last time there was something like this in the area was back in May 1997.
“It was a supercell storm which develops its own rotation over a large distance and it has a self-maintaining mechanism so it can cause large swathes of damage.
“That kind of storm can occasionally spurn a tornado but luckily this one quickly faded when it got to the Northampton area.”
The storm hit Tingewick for around 15 minutes at 7pm on Saturday evening when hailstones tore through a family’s gazebo and dented their Honda CRV and Peugeot 306 cars.
Charles Tanner, 58, of St Mary’s Court, said the damage caused to their garden and two cars will cost thousands of pounds to repair.
He said: “It was unbelievably destructive. The sort of thing that you see on the news.
“You could hear the thunder but all of a sudden there was a very large rumbling noise and a banging sound.
“They were the size of golf balls – damage-size hail balls and the garden just went white. In five minutes, we couldn’t see the grass.
“It devastated our garden. All the plants and the lettuces are shredded. It’s been a good year for our vegetable patch and we were quite looking forward to trying the vegetables – that wont be happening.”
Mr Tanner, who is retired, lives with his wife Sheila, 62, and their daughter Charlotte, 22.
The family’s toughened material gazebo, which was only updated last year, is costing £100 to replace and their car insurance company says the cost of roof and bonnet repair will be ‘several thousands of pounds per car’.
Eight panes of glass were broken on their greenhouse and Mr Tanner said their chickens and ducks were ‘shell-shocked’.
Storm expert Mr Webb added TORRO is keen to learn more about Saturday’s storm and is asking residents to get in touch.
He said: “We will welcome any accounts of the hailstorm and photographs of the hailstones as these will be invaluable to our investigation.
“Severe wind damage was also reported that day and information on this will likewise be of great help with our research.”
Complete a severe weather report form at www.torro.org.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org