1500 Apple Trees Destroyed by Vandals
A Hawke's Bay orchard lost 1500 apple trees to vandals who cut the trees down one night at Fernhill, near Hastings, New Zealand. Alessio Maffeis

Stunned and confused motorists were forced to break suddenly in order to avoid a barrage of fruit falling from the sky in Coventry.

The avalanche of apples rained down over the junction of Keresley Road and Kelmscote Road on Monday night, after apparently being swept up in a vortex as a result of current of air lifting them off the ground or orchard.

The fruit then dropped suddenly, pelting car windscreens and bonnets just after rush hour at 6.45pm, bringing traffic to a standstill.

A mini-tornado is thought to have swept the apples, trapping them in a powerful vacuum and travelling for many miles before finally releasing them over Coventry once its energy dispersed.

"The apples fell out of the sky as if out of nowhere. They were small and green and hit the bonnet hard," said one driver, reported by the Telegraph.

"There were other cars on the road at the time too and everyone had to stop their cars suddenly.

"I know the area well and there are no apple trees around."

Local Dave Meakins, 63, originally thought the downpour of apples must have been a prank by schoolchildren when he first saw the unusual occurrence.

"I assumed kids must have thrown them because we do get the occasional egg and apple thrown but there's way too much for that.

"I would love to know where they came from."

According to the Met Office, it is possible for apples and other such materials to be swept up by mini-tornados, which similar events happening before.

Jim Dale, senior meteorologist from British Weather Services, said: "We've all heard of the fish and frogs falling from the sky and apples is certainly unusual because they have some weight to them but it is not out of the realms of possibility."

In August 2007 there were reports of fish falling from the sky on the street of Great Yarmouth, Norfolk because of a mini-tornado out at sea. Dozens of frogs were also reported to be falling from the sky in Llanddewi, Wales and again in Croydon, London in 1998.

A second theory is that the apples may have fallen from a passing plane.