They say lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place.
But freak storms clearly do, as Littlehampton has felt the wrath of Mother Nature weeks after a similar phenomenon occurred.
Late on Wednesday, November 11, a sudden squall struck the town, damaging rooves and shaking homes.
Joanne Price, who lives in Westway, Wick, had a close call when her chimney was blown clean off. The town councillor was in bed, at around 10.45pm, when she suddenly heard a loud bang and the house shook, followed by another bang.
The following morning, her husband went outside and saw the chimney had crashed through the porch roof of the nearby shed, shattering the concrete below.
She said: “I still can’t comprehend it. If it went the other way, it would have landed on me because I sleep by the chimney breast.”
She also visted a resident in Whitelea Road, Wick, whose window was shoved open by the storm and a TV fell off the wall. “As I walked down the road, I saw a ridge tile had smashed into a car,” Joanne said. “I felt like I was in the Wizard of Oz – I wasn’t wearing the red shoes though.”
Gloucester Road, near Littlehampton railway station, and Wick Parade also were badly hit, Joanne said.
On October 24, a similar phenomenon happened, which also only seemed to affect Littlehampton.
Joanne said she was told by the Met Office that the wind speeds were 40mph during the most recent storm, which she questioned, given the measuring equipment was in Shoreham.
Greg Dewhurst, a meteorologist from the Met Office, admitted the gusts would ‘most likely’ have been stronger than 40mph, given the damage. Regarding the same weather phenomenon happening twice in the same place within a few weeks, he said: “It is unusual to see but not unheard of, especially at this time of year; autumnal weather is very changing and unsettled.”