A FARMER who survived the Asian tsunami has told of the terrifying moment when a tornado smashed through his North Yorkshire farm.

Albert Parker, 73, watched in horror as the twister ripped through his family farm off Malton Road, York, near the A64, sending a trailer flying through the air only feet from where he was standing.

The storm also smashed the windows in the farm's greenhouses and sent garden furniture flying across fields.

Mr Parker was on the farm, run by his son, Ian, and daughter-in-law, Sally, at 1pm yesterday, when he saw the twister coming.

He took refuge behind a trailer, but had to run for his life when it was lifted off its wheels and dumped several yards away. He then had to cling to a tractor for safety.

He said: "I was holding on for dear life. It was terrible.

"I could see it coming, and all the debris coming over the trees, and it just picked up the trailer and shoved it down over the track.

"It was bloody frightening, I can tell you. I have never seen anything like this - only on the television."

The drama came only months after Mr Parker was caught in the tsunami which devastated South East Asia on Boxing Day.

Mr Parker had gone to Thailand with his wife, Gladys, and Ian and Sally for a holiday.

But the trip became a nightmare, when the sea surged into their hotel.

Mr Parker said: "We stood in an alcove in the foyer with the water getting higher and higher."

The Parkers were only saved when Ian spotted a door leading to a flight of stairs, just before the second wave swept through the building.

"It was some experience," said Mr Parker. "I had that, then this today. Especially at my age, I feel quite lucky.

Other eye-witnesses also told of yesterday's dramatic events. Mark Beavers, 35, of Stockton Lane, said it was the sixth tornado he had seen in as many months.

He said: "There were these big clouds forming and the clouds overhead looked very menacing. Over a period of ten minutes I saw them become violent and begin twisting in all sorts of directions. It gained power and then suddenly a tornado cone came down. It's not technically called a tornado unless it hits the ground, but from where I was standing, it seemed to."

:: Twists of fate?

THE twister was the latest in a series to have hit North Yorkshire in recent years.

Just last Thursday, residents reported seeing a mini tornado near Thirsk, and another was also spotted recently in the Cawood area, near Selby.

In May 2000, a twister swirled through the skies near Pocklington.

The most memorable twister in recent years came three months later, when the Evening Press carried dramatic pictures of one in the south-east of the city and a marquee at Burniston annual show was ripped off its moorings.

Two years later, a tornado hit Pickering man Tony Kemp's home, smashing windows, ripping tiles off the roof and flattening fences.

Yesterday's conditions were not ideal for tornados, which are normally created by an unstable atmosphere with air rushing up from ground level and changing direction quickly.

Updated: 09:59 Wednesday, July 06, 2005