Storm Gerrit tornado: Residents tell of 'warzone' left by winds that ripped roofs off Stalybridge homes

Police declared a major incident after the incident shortly before midnight on Wednesday.
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A tornado which ripped through Greater Manchester has left roofs torn off houses and entire streets resembling "warzones," according to residents.

Police declared a major incident in Stalybridge at about 11.45pm on Wednesday after 80mph gusts swept through residential areas. Dozens of locals were advised to stay inside "due to the severity of the damage caused and potential risk to public safety" while at least 100 homes were damaged.

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Pictures show houses with gaping holes in their roofs while dozens of cars were battered by falling bricks, trees and debris. Residents told of their shock as they woke up to find their homes and cars wrecked in the aftermath of Storm Gerrit.

Storm Gerrit brings desruction as a tornado hits Calico Crescent, Stalybridge. Picture: William Lailey / SWNSStorm Gerrit brings desruction as a tornado hits Calico Crescent, Stalybridge. Picture: William Lailey / SWNS
Storm Gerrit brings desruction as a tornado hits Calico Crescent, Stalybridge. Picture: William Lailey / SWNS

Rachael Jones, 44, who lives on Granville Street in Millbrook, said: "I was in bed last night, and it just sounded like it was a really bad hail storm. I could just hear lots of things flying about, I just stayed in bed because I was so scared. This morning I looked outside and it was like a warzone. All the slates off the roofs of my house were off, chimneys down the street have come off, my car's been written off and all the aerials are down, it's unbelievable."

Another resident said: "I was woken in the night by some huge bangs. At first I thought a house must have exploded or maybe a plane had come down. When I looked out my window in the morning I couldn't believe it. All the cars parked down my road were covered in bricks and had smashed windows. The house at the end of the street had had the gable end torn off and you could see right inside their loft. The force of the wind was just unreal."

On the same street a tree which smashed through a roof caused some residents to be evacuated by the emergency services.

A fallen tree after the Storm Gerrit tornado in Greater Manchester. Picture: William Lailey / SWNSA fallen tree after the Storm Gerrit tornado in Greater Manchester. Picture: William Lailey / SWNS
A fallen tree after the Storm Gerrit tornado in Greater Manchester. Picture: William Lailey / SWNS
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Local Graham Yates, 50, said: "There was a tree outside that must be at least 70 or 80 years old but it was literally torn out by its roots. The tornado caught most people by surprise. You heard the word storm but never expect to wake up the next morning to see carnage outside. My neighbour's garden literally had five people's wheelie bins in it. They'd just blown right over the wall. I'm amazed no one was hurt or worse. If anyone had been stupid enough to be outside at midnight they'd have been toast."

Greater Manchester Police is still urging people to avoid the area where possible while the clean-up operation begins. So far, no injuries have been reported with Tameside Council saying the areas of Carrbrook and Millbrook were the worst impacted. Fire and Ambulance crews and officials from Electricity North West have been working on multiple sites across Tameside.

The hazardous weather conditions were seen across the UK as Storm Gerrit swept across the country, bringing with it heavy rain and high winds with Scotland being the hardest hit. The north-west of England, the southern coast, Wales, and Northern Ireland were also given Met Office yellow weather warnings on Wednesday, with heavy rain and wind also impacting those areas.

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