Telephone lines were ripped down in Grand Avenue, a chimney left rubble all over the street and cars, while bins and rubbish were strewn across the road.
Resident Nikki Merridew said one second it was completely calm, then things ‘started going mad’ at about 8.15pm.
“It came from nowhere,” she said. “One minute it was okay, then we thought it was just heavy rain on the flat roof. But it got heavier and heavier, then everything started to shake.
“It was like a mini hurricane or a whirlwind had just ripped through. It was really scary, everything was shaking.”
The maelstrom lasted for about 10 to 15 seconds, she said, before dying back down.
As Nikki and her frightened family looked outside, they saw their elderly neighbour from across the road walking outside in the howling wind.
His chimney had been blown off, tearing down telephone lines and damaging his roof. He and his wife, who are in their 70s and 80s, had been left shaken up, Nikki said.
She called the fire brigade, who arrived swiftly and secured the area, before a team from Kent came to fix the downed lines at around 10pm.
West Sussex was battered by heavy winds and rain last night, with several reports of downed trees and some flooding.
The nasty weather is expected to continue today.