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Residents in lucky escape after tornado

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14:35 CEST+02:00
A powerful tornado ripped up trees and led to the evacuation of a number of houses near Jönköping, southern Sweden, on Saturday night. Emergency services say that a dam could burst due to the effects of the wind, threatening four houses.

The tornado struck at 9:30pm on Saturday in Bottnaryd, 25 kilometres west of Jönköping.

"It flattened trees. It looked like it was leaping along, going down onto the ground and destroying everything, before jumping up and diving down again," said Kjell-Åke Romfors, who led the emergency services' operations.

The tornado continued through a forest and over a lake, where it lost power after destroying an area of forest two kilometres long and one hundred metres wide.

"I have worked in the emergency services for 25 years and have never seen anything like it," said Romfors, who said it was lucky no people lay in the path of the storm.

Rescuers were alerted after the tornado passed a farm. The only damage to property was the loss of a few roof tiles.

Winds in tornadoes can reach 100 metres per second (360 kilometres per hour).

"They can cause enormous damage," said Annette Levin, meteorologist at Swedish weather service SMHI.

Several reports of tornadoes are received in Sweden every summer. They usually occur in connection with thunder storms and tend to be confined to limited local areas.

The tornado on Saturday was accompanied by a short but heavy burst of rain. Several houses in the area were flooded, and a number of minor car accidents occurred. Several houses were evacuated on Saturday night after concerns that the dam at Röttle would burst. Residents were still not being allowed to return on Sunday afternoon.

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