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Sudden lightning storm turns midday black

Anonymous Coward
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07/23/2006 04:43 PM
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Sudden lightning storm turns midday black
see the midday photo at the link - looks like midnight

[link to www.dailymail.co.uk]

Sudden lightning storm leaves thousands running for cover
14:58pm 23rd July 2006

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Bolt from the blue: the midday sky turns black as a sudden lightning storm strikes over Poole Harbour in Dorset

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A ferocious storm swept the south coast on Saturday leaving chaos in its wake.

The freak squall moved so quickly it turned day into night within seconds and caught thousands of sunbathers and scores of sailors by surprise.

The thunder and lightning storm left roads and businesses flooded, blocked sewage drains, swept yachts crashing onto rocks and capsized smaller boats.

It arrived off the Dorset coast at 11.30am on Saturday and took just 30 minutes to pass through the Bournemouth and Poole.

Sailors reported the windspeed changing from a gentle 10mph to 55mph at a stroke.

Five people had to be rescued by coastguards after their 42ft yacht was blown onto rocks at the Old Harry rock formation near Swanage.

Two other yachts crashed into one another when they blown off course in Poole harbour. Nobody was hurt but considerable damage was caused to both boats.

On land, around 20,000 sunseekers ran for cover as the "monsoon" arrived while they bathed on Bournemouth beach.

People grabbed their belongings, covered themselves with beach towels and even plastic bags and fled into beach huts, shops and cafes to escape the torrent.

Others sheltered under Bournemouth Pier while the storm passed through.

Mike Roberts, 33, from Bournemouth, said: "I've never seen anything like it, it was like an eclipse and a monsoon rolled into one.

"One minute people were sunbathing on the sand and the next they were fleeing for cover, it was like a scene out of a disaster movie.

"Some saw the black cloud coming and packed up went headed for the cafes and shops but others left it until the last minute and got caught.

"They grabbed whatever they could to put over the heads."

On the sea, coastguards were inundated with calls to capsized boats and vessels that had run aground in the storm.

In the most serious incident two men, two women and a teenage girl were plucked to safety from their 42ft yacht Erasmos which crashed onto rocks.

Dave Turnbull, of the Swanage Lifeboat, said: "They were hit by the big squall that came through in the middle of an otherwise sunny summer day.

"The skipper said the wind speed jumped from a leisurely seven knots to 44 knots in a matter of seconds.

"They were a bit shaken up and were soaked right through. We took them off and towed yacht to Poole because the engine wouldn't start."

A speedboat also had to be pulled free when it was swept on to the shore in Poole.

Coastguards were called out when two dinghies capsized in Poole harbour while another dinghy overturned at Mudeford, near Christchurch.

Two kayakers also sparked a sea search when they were reported missing in the squall.

They were later found by a lifeboat crew heading for Swanage having taken shelter from the storm.
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