A swirling cloud formation that tore roofs from homes and sent debris crashing through a supermarket in Bermuda was a freak wind gust, not a tornado as some witnesses had reported, an official said.
Roger Williams, director of the Bermuda Weather Service, said Thursday the unusual weather phenomenon, known as a "gustnado," is formed by rotating gust fronts and is impossible to predict because its small size makes it invisible on radar.
People in the Somerset area on Bermuda's west end said they saw a funnel-like cloud move in off the ocean about 2 p.m. on Wednesday before the wind began tearing at their homes.
Six homes had their roofs blown off, and many more suffered damage. The area was left strewn with rubble, and the government called in scores of were to clean up the area. There were no reports of serious injuries.
Derrick Hill, 23, who has experienced a tornado before, said he ran into his house when the rain suddenly picked up and he saw swirling wind. His roof was blown torn away, as were those of his neighbors on both sides of his home.
The wind also knocked down a masonry wall, wrecking a car and sending the debris flying through the roof of a supermarket some 50 yards (meters) away, witnesses said, AP reports.
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