A WEATHER expert believes a small tornado could have hit the Isle of Wight last night.

Jamie Russell, of the Isle of Wight Met Service, said the signs are that the Cowes area showed all the signs of a tornado.

He explained: "What a night. As most of the Islanders slept, a squall line developed and moved across the Island.

"Winds gusting in excess of 70mph in places along with torrential rain, hail and an explosive crack of thunder, and while all this was predicted by us yesterday, something a little more unexpected happened too.

"Often with squall lines we get gusts of wind, this is actually part of the reason why they are called squall lines, but last night something rather unusual happened.

"In the Cowes area, based on local weather stations, there was a short-lived but noticeable change in wind direction from the SSW into the NE.

"This was accompanied by a 'loud noise' as some people have reported. There was also damage to a property in East Cowes too.

"These reports are consistent with the passage of a small tornado.

"Along with this squall there was a very powerful lightning strike that caused a power cut in some places.

"If you live in the Cowes/East Cowes area (or any other area), did you hear or see any severe weather last night?

"We are interested in your report on this storm."

UPDATE: County Press reader Adele Norman, 42, of St Wilfred Drive, East Cowes, has been in touch to say she and her partner were woken up by 'intense and howling' wind and rain at around 4am.

"It was banging on the windows, I've never experienced anything like it," she said.

"I think it was a tornado because of how sudden and intense it was. It only lasted for a few minutes, then it just stopped."

One resident of Arctic Road, Cowes, said the wind had ripped a hole in her roof, and left roof tiles scattered all over her car.

She said: "There was a massive bang around 4am, we thought the flat had been hit by lightning. Other houses have holes in the roof too.

"After reading the news this morning, I think it was a tornado."

Storm Dennis is due to hit the Island this weekend.