Scarborough: willy-willy causes damage after spinning ashore

CITY of Stirling Beach services captured the moment a destructive ‘willy-willy’ or small tornado came off the ocean in Scarborough about 11am yesterday.

The small tornado swept over scaffolding at the $26 million Scarborough Beach Pool construction site, spun a car in a nearby carpark and destroyed a small brick wall at the back of a business.

A City of Stirling spokeswoman said the damage was being assessed today but believed only private property was damaged.

A Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) spokeswoman said the willy-willy did not pass over a BoM weather station so exact wind speeds could not be recorded.

Stirling beach services co-ordinator John Snook was in the car with beach inspector Adam Gugiatti when the small tornado hit.

“It was a pretty ordinary morning yesterday when we noticed the water spout. Adam then grabbed his phone and started filming as it hit the beach,” he said.

“It went straight through the amphitheatre; passing through and hit some plywood from the construction site.

“We were able to keep eye on where it was tracking so we were confident there was no way it was going to hit us.”

Mr Snook said the main priority for the pair was making sure everyone on the beach was safe.

“There were a couple of kite surfers out in the water, and there were people walking on the beach checking out the storm.”

While he has seen them in the past, Mr Snook said it was unusual the small tornado came so close to the beach.

“It is uncommon for them to cross on to the beach, they are usually just on the water,” he said.