Tornado damage in Faro, Portugal
Faro was plunged back into tornado chaos on Sunday, only four days after being hit by similar extreme weather in the dockland area.

This time the swirling column of wind reaching speeds of 180 km/ hour hit the city near the entrance of town, uprooting trees, destroying cars, walls and other structures.

Eye-witness John Slaughter described "a very loud noise" as the extreme phenomenon struck "which sounded like machine gun shots" (due to the splitting of window frames and breaking of glass).

Mr Slaughter was in a restaurant near Faro Beach - the same place hit last Wednesday - and said that "most people started running for the exits screaming and many others tried to hide.

"People including myself immediately thought it was a terrorist attack".

Elsewhere a gypsy community in the area known as Cerro do Bruxo had its makeshift housing torn apart while serious damage was suffered at fuel stations, greenhouses and businesses further inland.

Faro firefighters registered around 50 significant incidents.

The tornado went on to affect other areas: Olhão - particularly the area of Pechão - Tavira, Castro Marim and Vila Real do Santo António, but it was in Faro and Olhão that damage appears to have been worst.

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

Miraculously, there appear to have been no injuries to people.

Tabloid Correio da Manhã uses the term this morning, saying that many people repeated the word "miracle, for the fact that no one was killed" in the manic swathe of destruction.

Said one of the spectators at the football game at Moncarapachense, "if the wall had collapsed just a few metres further on, it would have hit people. I really don't know how we all came out of this alive. It was hellish".

A statement released by IPMA weather authority last night confirmed the impacts as "compatible at least with damage caused by a class F1 tornado, according to the classic Fujita scale".

F1 is the lowest level of the scale that rises to F6 - but as everyone who experienced this incident - and the one on Wednesday - will be agreeing, there was nothing 'mini' about its effects.

People were in a state of shock, wrote John Slaughter on news website algarvedailynews - if only for a short time.

Meantime, council services, EDP and Civil Protection were all called into action and late last night EDP was still grappling with the issues of trying to reconnect homes left without power.

More details on the clear-up operation will come in today (see update) but weather reports suggest Monday will be a great deal less dramatic, even though warnings persist. People should stay away from coastal areas particularly, though waves this week should be less ferocious than over the last few days.

IPMA suggests bad weather with frequent showers of rain will continue for at least another week.

For photographs courtesy of Jornal Barlavento showing the effects of this second tornado, see our Algarve Resident Facebook page.


Secretary of state for agriculture Luís Medeiros Vieira wasted no time in this pre-election year to travel down to the Algarve and offer government support for rebuilding efforts, partituclarly in Olhão where huge areas of greenhouses were flattened.

President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has said he too is being "kept up to date" over the "effects of the tornado" and "has received indications from the council that the problems, particularly the social issues, are being resolved".

For further details of the kind of money being offered, and value of damages, see our website tomorrow.