Destructive tornado hits Faro, southern Portugal

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A destructive tornado swept through Faro, Portugal on March 4, 2018, downing trees and damaging a number of cars and structures. At least 50 significant incidents were reported across the city, authorities said, adding it was a miracle that no one was killed. This is the second destructive tornado to hit the city in less than a week.

According to local media, the tornado hit the entrance to the city this time, destroying cars, walls and other structures.

Eye-witness John Slaughter described ‘a very loud noise’ as the tornado struck. “It sounded like machine gun shots,” Slaughter said. He was in a restaurant near Faro Beach, the same place hit by a tornado last Wednesday, February 28, and said that most people started running for the exits screaming while many others tried to hide.

“People including myself immediately thought it was a terrorist attack,” Slaughter told the Portugal Resident.

The tornado also affected Olhão – particularly the area of Pechão – Tavira, Castro Marim and Vila Real do Santo António, but it was in Faro and its neighboring town of Olhão that damage appears to have been worst.

According to sports paper O Jogo, the Moncarapachense football stadium was also hit as a game against Moura was approaching its 61st minute. The game was suspended while benches “were destroyed and walls collapsed, damaging some parked cars.”

The Portuguese Institute of the Sea and the Atmosphere (IPMA) classed the tornado as F1, the lowest on the Fujita scale, but locals say there was nothing ‘mini’ about this tornado.

The same city was hit by another tornado on February 28. The phenomenon started as a waterspout around 15:30 local time, upturning boats, before it reached land and damaged cars and local bars. “It was all very fast,” Faro ports captain Cortes Lopes told media.

Lopes said didn’t see the tornado making landfall, he simply heard the ‘incredible noise’ as it scooped up boats, battered bars and sent shards of debris into the air.

The tornado then reached city center where it caused further damage, uprooted trees and damaged cars and various structures.

Featured image: Tornado damage in Faro, Portugal on March 4, 2018. Credit: Joao Paulo Soares

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