Around 100 homes damaged in Tameside in rare British tornado as Storm Gerrit hits

  • Video Credit: Yapp App

Residents in Stalybridge in Greater Manchester are continuing a clean-up operation, after a tornado tore roofs off houses and destroyed walls during a storm.

Around 100 homes were left in a state of "absolute disaster" after the rare British tornado overnight on Wednesday 27 December, as Storm Gerrit swept across the region.

The Tornado and Storm Research Organisation has confirmed the incident was a tornado and given it a provisional maximum damage rating of T5.

What is a T5 rating?

  • Winds of 137-160 mph

  • Heavier motor vehicles (4x4, 4 Tonne Trucks) levitated.

  • Wall plates, entire roofs and several rows of bricks on top floors removed.

  • Items sucked out from inside house including partition walls and furniture.

  • Older, weaker buildings collapse completely.

  • Utility poles snapped.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) were called to reports of significant damage to properties across Stalybridge around 11:45pm on Wednesday 27 December.

Residents have spoken of the "crazy" moment a "localised tornado" hit, wreaking havoc on the houses.

Hayley McCaffer, 40, who lives in Carrbrook said: “Some of the neighbours’ houses are an absolute disaster – the roof missing, gable ends gone, cars squished with all the stone that’s come off the houses.

“Luckily for us, very luckily, we were in the pub last night when it happened.

“We weren’t here, but also we had parked our car there and looking at the state of our driveway – one of the walls has come down – we were very lucky that it wasn’t parked there because it would have not been in a good state today.”

Matthew Marsland, who lives opposite the badly damaged homes on Hough Hill Road, said he heard a "crazy noise" and "vibrations through the window" for about 30 seconds.

Damage to a house in Stalybridge. Credit: Yapp App

"I looked out of the window and saw a bit of debris so I thought I'd go out and pick a few bits up", he said.

"Then I saw a piece of tree next to my neighbour's car, then I looked further along the street and saw a gutter in the middle of the street so I thought I'd go and pick that up, and then I saw my neighbour had had half his house torn off."

"Two or three minutes later the entire estate was on the street, and we were just wondering what would happen next."

Residents in Tameside have been evacuated. Credit: MEN

Also caught up in the storm was Tameside Councillor Dave Sweeten who said he had "never heard any winds like it".

"It woke me up and I couldn't get back to sleep," he said.

"I started looking at the council website and realised it was a major incident and we opened Dukinfield Town Hall for anyone that was displaced."

He said he was "very proud" of the way local authorities and emergency services had responded to the incident.

"You've got New Year coming up, a new start, and it's just not what anybody needs," he added.

The 'tornado-like' winds caused damage to roofs. Credit: PA media

Another man, whose car was badly damaged in the incident, said it was 'lucky nobody was killed'.

Tameside Council said approximately 100 properties were evacuated after the “mini tornado” hit areas of Carrbrook and Millbrook.

A spokesperson said: “It is believed everyone affected made arrangements to stay with family and friends overnight."

GMP are urging people to stay away from the area. Credit: MEN

Patricia Watkinson, who lives in Carrbrook, was away in Norfolk when gusts swept through the village, but has been told by a neighbour that apart from a “dangling” aerial her home appears undamaged.

The 83-year-old says: “I’m glad I wasn’t there. My neighbour, she just rang me, and her shed is gone.

"Hopefully that’s all that’s wrong with mine is the aerial dangling.”

Greater Manchester Police say no injuries have been reported. Credit: PA Media

GMP has declared this a major incident due to the severity of the damage caused and potential risk to public safety. No injuries have been reported.

Chief Superintendent Mark Dexter said: “Our highest priority is keeping people safe which is why we are advising those who have been displaced not to return or entire their properties which have significant damage until they have been assessed by structural engineers.

“I would also like to urge members of the public to avoid the area where possible and take extra care when travelling in vehicles on the roads in Stalybridge and the surrounding areas, due to debris in the road.

”Those affected should monitor Tameside Council social media for advice and guidance or call 0161 342 2222 where council representatives will be on hand to offer support."

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has said damage caused will be covered by standard property insurance policies.

Spokesman Malcolm Tarling said: “Insurers expect and are ready for any type of bad weather, such as tornado-force winds.

“When bad weather strikes, their priority is always to help and support their customers recover as quickly as practical. Anyone who has suffered damage should contact their insurer for advice.”

The ABI also advised anyone needing temporary emergency accommodation because their homes have been deemed unsafe should ask their insurer to arrange and pay for it.

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