A freak weather event reportedly involving a “mini tornado” has swept through parts of the south of England, forcing a Butlin’s holiday resort to close for four days.
Storms hit many parts of Devon, including Somerset, on Sunday and the following night.
Flash flooding caused the closure of Exeter Airport while residents in Littlehampton reported damaged homes and cars.
The wild weather, set to continue throughout the week, is part of the remnants of Hurricane Lee, which hit the north-eastern US and Canada with 70mph winds.
The Met Office issued yellow rain weather warnings for Wales and the northwest of England for Tuesday and Wednesday as at least four inches of rain are predicted to fall widely.
Butlin’s in Minehead has been forced to close from today (Monday September 18) to Thursday because “exceptional rainfall” made the facility “unable” to keep up with customer standards.
It said: “We’ve seen an exceptional amount of rainfall at our Minehead resort today, resulting in a number of our venues [including our pool, buffet restaurants and centre stage], as well as accommodation units closing.
“The team have been working hard to clear the affected areas, however, we’re unable to give you the full Butlin’s experience you’d expect from us.
“We understand how disappointing this will be for you and your family, we haven’t taken this decision lightly and we are very sorry.”
A Met Office spokesman said the conditions in Littlehampton, West Sussex, could have been favourable to a “weak tornado” although they said there was no evidence to support this.
They said: “With this much wind shear, in the area of wind change, it is possible that some of this spin could have been stretched by the strong convective updraughts and formed a short-lived, weak tornado.”
In one extreme incident, a house in Corfe Mullen, Dorset was struck by lightning in the early hours of today and then burst into flames.
The £400,000 home suffered a direct strike to its tiled roof.