Tornado strikes Co Derry farm

Farmer Fergus Kelly stands beside his crushed car next to the 'milking shed' which had its roof lifted off by a devastating Twister on Wednesday.
Farmer Fergus Kelly stands beside his crushed car next to the 'milking shed' which had its roof lifted off by a devastating Twister on Wednesday.

A farmer from outside Greysteel has spoken of the trail of destruction left behind by what he believes was a tornado, which whipped the roof of his 80-foot long shed into the sky on Wednesday.

Dairy farmer, Fergie Kelly from Upperlane Road was in the shed around 12.30 with 10 workers trimming the feet of about 50 cows when the drama unfolded.

Within seconds the winds picked up and the corrugated roof of the 35-foot wide shed peeled off and flew into the air.

“It sounded like a bomb went off,” he told the ‘Journal’, shocked. “It was pure panic. The cows stampeded and ran out, breaking down gates, and into the field. We ran out and saw the tornado down the field. The roof trusses were flying through the air. It was some sight. It was like a big black ‘V’ sign going through the sky. We watched the tin sheets from the roof swirling around and around and dropping into the field across the road.”

Relieved what happened wasn’t down to a gas or electricity explosion, Mr. Kelly said it was something he never wants to witness again.

“The grass in the field across the road is ready for cutting and you could see it cut through the grass. We must have watched it for a mile to a mile and half or so before it disappeared. It lasted about 10 minutes.”

None of the men were hurt, however a few of the animals were injured. None, thankfully, have had to be put down.

“Everyone is okay. That’s the main thing,” he said. “We’re lucky to be alive.”

Nonetheless the “freak” incident has cost Mr. Kelly a round £50,000. His car was a casualty, totally written off after the roof was left crumpled by debris. A tractor inside the shed was also damaged.

“The damage left behind is unbelievable, just complete destruction. I’ve seen strong winds before, but never anything like this. This was something freak and I can tell you I never want to see anything like it again.”