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Major incident declared in Tameside after tornado rips through during Storm Gerrit, UK

Major incident declared in Tameside after tornado rips through during Storm Gerrit, UK

A small tornado, produced by Storm Gerrit, tore through Greater Manchester, UK around 23:45 UTC on December 27, 2023, leading to significant damage and the declaration of a major incident in Tameside.

During the late hours of December 27, 2023, a small but destructive tornado tore through Greater Manchester amid the wider impacts of Storm Gerrit. The tornado resulted in roofs being torn off houses, trees being uprooted, and walls collapsing in the affected areas.

Tameside, particularly the Millbrook and Carrbrook areas in Stalybridge, bore the brunt of the destruction, with around a hundred homes reported damaged. Despite the severe damage, there have fortunately been no reported injuries.

Chief Superintendent Mark Dexter of the local police force declared a major incident due to the severity of the damage and potential risk to public safety. He emphasized the priority of keeping people safe and advised those displaced not to return or enter properties with significant damage until assessed by structural engineers. He also urged the public to avoid the area and be cautious of debris while traveling in and around Stalybridge.

The UK Met Office, in its morning update, acknowledged the crossing of a supercell thunderstorm over Greater Manchester the previous night, suggesting the likelihood of a tornado based on radar observations of a strong rotating updraft. However, confirmation awaits further surface data and a detailed investigation by the Tornado and Storm Research Organisation.

In response to the tornado, Fire and Ambulance crews, Electricity North West, and council officials were dispatched to multiple sites across Tameside. A rest center was set up at Dukinfield Town Hall to aid those affected by the storm and tornado.

Beyond Greater Manchester, Storm Gerrit has wreaked havoc across the UK, particularly in Scotland, with flooding and disrupted travel.

Wind speeds up to 129 km/h (80 mph) and gusts reaching 170 km/h (106 mph) have left 25 000 homes without power. 16 000 homes are still without power on Thursday morning, December 28.

Efforts are ongoing to restore electricity to affected homes, with travel networks attempting to recover from widespread disruptions, including cancellations and delays in ferry, train, and plane services.

Further unsettled weather is expected later in the week, with strong winds, rain and some upland snow.

Update

December 30

Three people died on December 28 after their car fell into a river near the town of Glaisdale in northern England.

Another man who had tried to help them was recovered unharmed, North Yorkshire Police said, adding that the weather conditions were “making driving hazardous”.

References:

1 Storm Gerrit: Roofs blown off as ‘tornado’ strikes Stalybridge – BBC – December 28, 2023

2 Rare UK ‘TORNADO’ rips through Greater Manchester with hundreds forced to evacuate their homes as Storm Gerrit havoc continues – GBNews – December 28, 2023

3 Storm Gerrit to bring strong winds, heavy rain and snow to UK – The Watchers – December 27, 2023

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