One resident described watching his shed roof being ripped off during the freak storm on Saturday morning, while another said it had sounded like a plane taking off.
“I thought it was going to take my house like in The Wizard of Oz,” a third said.
The sudden weather phenomenon blasted through the town of Chertsey and nearby Shepperton village just before 10.30am as wider winds and rain swept across the rest of the county.
Images posted on social media showed debris and roof tiles littering streets and trees laid across roads in the wake of the storm. More than 20 homes and 10 vehicles were reported to have been damaged.
Paula Webb, who lives in Chertsey, told Surrey Live: “It was really heavy rain, I looked outside and it was so dark, it sounded almost like it was a plane taking off, you could see the trees were literally bent over.”
And neighbour Jo Mason added: “It’s dented the bonnet of my new car, so not happy. It’s gone down Bittams Lane by the looks of it. It’s a bit of excitement.”
Philip Passey, a resident of said Bittams Lane, said he was stood in his kitchen when he saw the skies outside go dark.
“I saw the leaves swirling – I thought, this isn’t right,” he said. “Then the trampoline in the garden gets thrown against the house and the wind is making a huge noise.
“I see that my shed roof is gone and fence panels have been blown off. Outside my house a huge oak tree has come down. All of a sudden there was a huge roar and everything was flying around the garden.”
He added: “You freeze. You think you would run and hide but I just stood there watching.”
Surrey Fire and Rescue said crews from stations across the county had attended the area in the aftermath of the incident.
Tim Readings, assistant group commander, said: “We got called at about 10.30am to a report of a tornado. There are in excess of 20 houses with damaged roofs and 10 private cars that have been damaged by falling tiles. There are fences and trees down.”
The Met Office has since confirmed that the freak storm was a tornado – although there is not yet any indication of just what speeds the winds reached.
It came on a weekend when more than 100 flood warnings were already in place across the country as rain battered vast swathes of the UK.