A wind turbine came crashing down as high winds and burst of torrential rain swept across Huddersfield.
The turbine was one of two that had been put up on fields off Halifax Road at Scapegoat Hill earlier this year.
It fell down on Tuesday when squalls are thought to have reached 80mph on the top of hills and moors.
The freak winds also hit Meltham, causing damage and leaving debris in its wake.
Eyewitness Steve Wood, of Howard Way, was driving his Peugeot estate along Huddersfield Road when the sky filled with torrential rain and he heard a crack as a branch hit the rear of his car.
He said: “I have never seen anything like it. Everything went dark grey and there was a sudden change in the atmosphere from ordinary rain to a vicious and ferocious wind with horizontal rain.”
Mike Kaye, of Wetlands Road, spent yesterday morning with his son David clearing up the damage caused by the wind, which he believes may have been a mini tornado.
The tempest tore slates and heavy ridge tiles from the roof of Meltham Parish Church hall and pulled guttering from the building.
The gusts caused damage to roofs of several houses in Meltham. Branches were strewn around and at least one large old tree was brought down on the Greenway behind Morrisons supermarket.
Mr Kaye, chairman of the church hall, said: “We were very lucky. There was a zumba class in the hall at the time, but if they had been coming in or out, it would have been dangerous.”
Former Met Office weatherman Paul Stevens said that a cold front had moved into the area, causing a narrow squall line about 10 miles wide.
Within just 30 minutes the temperature dropped from 12 degrees to seven degrees, causing low pressure which rapidly sucked in and lifted the air. This came back down to earth as violent winds.
He said: “The convection and instability across this front could potentially have produced funnel clouds or even weak tornados.”
He recorded gusts of 58mph at his Salendine Nook weather station on Tuesday afternoon, although squalls could produce gusts of up to 80mph. There were unconfirmed reports of tornados near Sheffield and the north Midlands.
Mr Stevens added that if swirling gusts touch the earth, they are tornados, if they do not then they are funnel clouds.
At Scapegoat Hill, the turbine was destroyed by the fall which left debris strewn across the field.
Staff from Alternative Energy Contracting Ltd at Frosterley near Bishop Auckland in County Durham were at the scene yesterday.
Their head office was contacted twice by the Examiner but they did not want to say anything about the incident.
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