Last night it was quite stormy here and it reminded me of January 2003. Our house is situated on the side of a valley, facing South. Normally the weather crosses the valley from right to left and you can stand in front of the house and watch the wind and rain raging through the valley but around the house it's quite calm. Obviously whoever built this property [a long time ago] knew exactly where to site it for maximum protection. Even during the Great Storm which wreaked havoc throughout France in December 1999 left us unscathed, just a few trees down in the wood. We didn't even lose our electricity even though most of the area was without it for days. So we always felt safe from the storms that hit from time to time, that was until 2003. It was quite windy but nothing exceptional, we had just finished the evening chores all the animals had been fed and checked and we had gone back indoors for a cup of tea. We were in the kitchen when there was a noise like the blasting you might hear from a quarry except that it was very close.
We rushed outside and went round to the back of the house where we thought the noise had come from. OMG The roof of our three bay barn [300 m.sq. of iron girders and fibro-cement corrugated sheets] lifted up and deposited on the back drive!!!!!!
It was a scene of devestation, the corrugated sheets were in thousands of pieces all over the place, the steel girders were twisted as if by a giant hand, but WE WERE SO LUCKY!! Only minutes before we had been walking along the back drive. We sometimes leave a tractor or car there but not that day. There was only minor damage to our house roof , another foot or so and the roof would have been destroyed. We use the three bay during lambing but we hadn't started. We just stood there in complete amazement at the force of the wind that had lifted off the roof and so thankful that the damage was limited to the barn.
We learnt the following day that it had been a mini TORNADO that had struck our normally sheltered farm. The damage was covered by our insurance and we soon had a new roof on the barn, but it has left a lasting impression as to the immense power of nature. We still feel safe though because the chances of another tornado are incredibly small so I lay in bed last night listening to the wind roaring in the valley snuggled under the duvet and fell asleep.