A tornado battered the town of Chertsey in Surrey County, South East England, on Saturday, December 21, 2019, damaging homes and properties. More than 90 flood warnings remain in place across southern England where areas have already been soaked by showers, the eastern region, the Midlands, and Yorkshire.
The Met Office confirmed the strong tornado in Chertsey. One resident named Verity Boultwood said the twister blew off the roof of her conservatory.
"In the past, it has withstood bad weather. Luckily nobody was hurt and my partner has managed to fix it," Boultwood said.
"One of my neighbors has smashed windows. Trampolines have flown across the gardens here."
"In total 26 houses, 13 cars and four garages were damaged," the fire and rescue service said
There have been reports of a tornado in Chertsey, Surrey this morning. The radar image on the left shows the heavy shower that would have caused it. The Doppler image on the right shows relative motion of rain droplets; the circled area highlights the rapid circulation pic.twitter.com/waYvXrrB1Q— Met Office (@metoffice) December 21, 2019
Fellow resident Philip Passey said he froze when he saw the tornado that lasted about 40 seconds.
"The leaves were going horizontal. I said, 'That looks like a tornado.' There was a huge roar, then nothing," Passey noted.
"A trampoline lifted up in the air, like it weighed nothing, and was thrown across the garden. My daughter came downstairs and said the shed roof had gone. One shed has disappeared; one blown apart, one has no roof on it."
He continued, "Son said there was a tree across the garden, two cars have been written off. [On] the farm across the road, we heard a dog broke his leg."
WOW.... #Tornado report that it hit #Chertsey, Surrey, UK this morning 21st December! Fence panels ripped off and trees reported down! This video captures it via @surreylive #severeweather #extremeweather #ukweather pic.twitter.com/52g79rgLZO— WEATHER/ METEO WORLD (@StormchaserUKEU) December 21, 2019
Surrey Fire and Rescue Service said crews were called at around 10:30 UTC to a high wind incident affecting several houses.
Four fire engines and two aerial ladders were sent and they worked to "make houses safe from damage to roofs".
The tornado occurred a day after roads were flooded and rail lines were blocked on Friday, December 20. The M23 was closed between junctions 10 and 11 in both directions in West Sussex but has now reopened.
"Because it's been so very wet across the south this extra rain falling on to saturated ground could cause some further problems, so there is a weather warning in force scooting along southern counties during Saturday evening," Met Office meteorologist Alex Deakin said.
Moreover, Deakin explained that the rain was coming from a "fairly angry weather system" which would also bring some "very strong winds."
Ian Nunn, from the Environment Agency, said the weather after Christmas would be a drier period after days of rain, "so hopefully things will calm down then."
Eastern areas will see skies brightening this afternoon... pic.twitter.com/DZDoyppT32— Met Office (@metoffice) December 22, 2019
...Meanwhile western areas will see a mixture of sunshine and showers pic.twitter.com/0LgZsIQ8yz— Met Office (@metoffice) December 22, 2019
Highways England advised motorists to slow down when driving, keeping well back from the vehicle in front and easing off the accelerator if the steering becomes unresponsive.
Meteorologists said tornadoes in the UK are not as uncommon as many might think, and that residents see an average of about 30 twisters per year.
Featured image credit: Elite World/YouTube