Selsey has recent history of tornadoes, the first happening just after midnight on Friday 21st November 1986. A tornado-waterspout cut a swathe of destruction 70m wide across Selsey from Hillfield Road to Ruskin Close and the East Beach fishing huts, where it turned into a waterspout. Trees were uprooted or had their tops ripped off, and over 200 houses were damaged.
The next tornado was even more destructive. It hit Selsey from the west in the early hours of Thursday 8th January 1998, preceded by a display of lightning and hailstones the size of golf balls. Wind speeds reached 100 miles an hour, causing damage to 1,000 buildings, with repair costs in the region of £2.5m. Surprisingly only two people needed hospital treatment. About 150 firefighters worked through the night and into the morning to make buildings safe, while BT sent teams of engineers to restore over 400 damaged lines.
Just after 7am on Monday 30th October 2000 a mini tornado hit the West Sands Caravan Park, to the west of Selsey. About 150 caravans were damaged, with 25 of them written off, and two people were cut by broken glass. It could have been a lot worse. Over the weekend there had been 7000 people at the caravan park but fortunately by the Monday morning only about 500 people remained.