Tornado causes pandemonium in Algarve

By Carrie-Marie Bratley, in News · 16-11-2012 14:55:00 · 5 Comments
Tornado causes pandemonium in Algarve

Unprecedented chaos tore through the Lagoa Sol urbanization (Lagoa, Algarve) on Friday, 16 November, when a massive tornado literally ripped up the neighbourhood at around 1.30pm.

Photo copyright The Portugal News

Trees were uprooted, balconies, roof tiles and framework ripped off, windows shattered and vehicles tossed for metres.

Many local residents were affected by the freak incident in which the entire neighbourhood was reduced to tatters and people were seriously injured.

Panicking parents rushed to a nearby-by school to collect their children who were in class when the tornado hit, and billboards on a nearby roundabout were mangled.

The exact extent of the damage and seriousness of the injuries is still being calculated but initial assessments suggest thirteen people were injured, three of whom seriously.

The State Secretary for Welfare and Social Security has confirmed that four families, a total of eleven people, six of whom minors, need to be rehomed.

Abel Silva, born and raised in Lagoa, saw his ground-floor apartment destroyed in the terrifying incident which last merely minutes.

“It was overwhelming. All of a sudden my windows started shaking, the ground was trembling. I tried to hold the windows but I saw they were going to blow I so I threw myself to the side. The entire house has been destroyed. I’ve never seen anything like this before.”

People in a nearby café said: “The sky turned pitch black, the wind became so dense you could see it, and it seemed like everything was shaking. The windows were rattling. A metal sheet from a nearby building site was ripped up. We were told to get back and stand away from the windows. The power went out. It was like something from a movie.”

GNR police confirmed that there were serious injuries and many families have been left temporarily homeless.

Emergency services were drafted in from neighbouring districts to try to bring the pandemonium under control. The National Civil Protection Authority (ANPC) dispatched emergency services to Lagoa and Silves from as far away as Beja, Setúbal and Évora.

Around 226 men and women and 68 vehicles were sent to the cities. Information from the ANPC website confirms 13 people were injured as a result of the tornado and no deaths were caused. An emergency rescue helicopter was also dispatched at 2.55pm but later retracted.

Bad weather including strong winds, thunder and lightening tormented the Algarve on Friday.

There was a power shortage in Lagos caused by persistent stormy weather, the village of Ferragudo and city of Albufeira flooded, and damage was caused to several locations across the region.

Residents in Silves told The Portugal News "it looks like a bomb has hit it."

Eyewitness reports said a glass dome that once sat on top of the Town Hall shattered.

In Alvor a roof was ripped off a school and a café-kiosk in the heart of the village was completely removed from its spot.

The Weather Institute (IM) placed the Algarve under orange alert for most of Saturday - a warning of moderate to high risk meteorological situation. Heavy downpours accompanied by strong winds and thunder were predicted, but thankfully proved unfounded.

To see more pictures, follow link:


A tornado is not just a combination of high winds and rain. High winds and rain will not rip out robust 15m trees like matchsticks -or cause the devastation I have witnessed today in Silves. Having said that, it would register as a minnow on the scale of twisters seen regularly across the US Mid West - that is scary.

by Stuart Crossley from Algarve on 17-11-2012 07:41:00

I would just like to praise Silves Camera for the speed in which they cleared the roads and debris after the storm.
We live facing the car park in Silves and were right in the path of it but only suffered minor damages. To witness the clearup operation was an experience. Thank you Silves Camera.

by Isobel Mcgarvey from Algarve on 17-11-2012 06:25:00

This video shows the force of the tornado:

by Kurt from Algarve on 17-11-2012 11:23:00

You say that the prediction of high winds and rain were unfounded! What's a tornado then?

by Bob Mc Mahon from Algarve on 17-11-2012 08:35:00

Well done to the Portugese News for supplying information of the storm that hit the Lagoa region on Friday 16th Nov so quickly.( I understand that Friday is the day of publication)
I have an apartment at Tenis Park near Lagoa and found out the details of the storm from your internet link on Friday evening whilst living in France.
This is good up to the minute reporting. Well done

by Pete Merry from Other on 16-11-2012 08:21:00
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