Tornado flips cars and topples trees as severe weather hits Christmas getaway

UK News | Published:

The south of England has endured downpours throughout Saturday, and more rain is forecast.

Trees blown over

A tornado brought trees down on cars and flipped over vehicles as severe weather swept southern England and disrupted the Christmas travel plans of millions.

The south has been soaked by showers throughout Saturday, and firefighters were called out to one suburban town when high winds hit.

Surrey Fire and Rescue received reports of a tornado in Chertsey shortly before 10.30am.

The service said in a statement: “We were called to a high wind incident affecting a number of houses in the Chertsey area.”

Crews sent four fire engines and two aerial ladders to the town just outside London, and they worked to “make houses safe from damage to roofs”.

Pictures from the area show a van flipped over, a trampoline on its side against a house and trees strewn across gardens following the sudden wind storm.

Trees were strewn across a road in Chertsey, Surrey, after the tornado (Connor Passey/PA)


Local resident Connor Passey told the PA news agency: “The tree came down on to my house’s front garden.

“Thankfully no-one was hurt. It caused some damage to the roof and tore the roof of a shed in our garden, and sent our trampoline flying the height of the house, and sent one of our metal sheds nearly four doors down.”

One car was also seen on its side in a nearby field.

Mr Passey added: “It went completely still outside, then the leaves started to spin much like a mini tornado.


Tornado damage
A garden fence toppled by the sudden high winds (Connor Passey/PA)

“About 10 to 15 seconds after this, the cars and caravan began to rock, we couldn’t believe what we were seeing.”

Surrey Police said they attended the scene with the fire service to “ensure the public’s safety”.

Meanwhile, a yellow weather warning for rain is in place until 9am on Sunday which stretches from Lands End to Dover.

MP for Arundel and South Down, Andrew Griffith, posted pictures of roads overwhelmed with water.

Writing on Twitter, the Conservative MP said the flooding in Pulborough, West Sussex, had encouraged him to write to the Housing Secretary about flood risk and new housing developments.

Met Office forecaster Alex Burkill said on Saturday: “It’s going to be very wet in southern parts as we go throughout the rest of today and into tomorrow.”

Although the rain is not particularly heavy for the time of year, he still expects it to cause some problems, particularly in areas that have received a soaking in recent weeks and months.

Mr Burkill added: “Rainfall totals are only looking like 20-30mm, so not exceptional for the time of year, but because it’s been so wet this month and through the rest of autumn, there could be some flooding in these areas.

“The roads within the warning area, there is a risk of seeing slow travel times.

“It’s not looking too severe in terms of the weather but could be disruptive, mainly due to the number of people wanting to travel.”

Elsewhere, there is a risk of patchy fog in parts of Scotland, northern England and Northern Ireland, Mr Burkill said.

Ninety-four flood warnings and 232 less severe flood alerts are in place across England, and the Environment Agency said flood defences have been erected in a number of areas.

Doug Wilson, flood duty manager at the Environment Agency, said: “Environment Agency teams have put up temporary flood defences in a number of locations including Bradford on Avon, Leatherhead, Guildford and Canterbury.

“Pumping continues at Saltmoor and Northmoor in Somerset to lower levels in the River Tone and the flood barrier at Leigh, in Kent, is operating.

“Our flood information officers remain out on the ground in communities where there is a risk of flooding and staff are working around the clock to help keep people safe.”

According to the RAC, there are an estimated 5.6 million getaway trips planned for Monday and Tuesday.

The motoring body said the worst of the delays are expected on Sunday, with the M25 between the M23 and M40, and roads between Flitwick and Daventry thought to have the longest queues of up to 90 minutes.

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