RESIDENTS have reported spotting a mini-tornado tearing along the beach and promenade in Frinton.

Locals took to social media to report seeing the phenomenon on Thursday afternoon.

Mini-tornados are commonly known as dust devils and are caused when hot air rises rapidly into cool air.

Nicola Percival, from Frinton, said: “It happened so quickly, I didn’t get a photo.

“It came through some beach huts along the prom and into the beach in Frinton and took off across the sea taking a child’s surfboard with it.

“I don’t think it harmed anyone, but couldn’t be certain.”

Other residents reported a parasol being blown away, debris being left in gardens, and shop advertising boards being blown over.

It is thought the strong gusts of wind last for about three minutes.

Social media users described the phenomenon as “weird” and crazy” before it suddenly stopped.

Mini-tornados are usually much smaller and not as intense as a tornado.

Most in the UK are small and have minimal impact, although one caused a £40million clean-up bill and injured 20 people in Birmingham in 2005.

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