England

Tornado hits Chertsey as England remains on weather alert

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Media captionThis tornado was filmed on the M25 near Chertsey in Surrey, where homes and gardens were damaged

A tornado has hit Surrey as more than 90 flood warnings remain in place across southern and eastern England, the Midlands and Yorkshire.

One Chertsey resident said it blew the roof off her conservatory. Firefighters said homes and cars were also damaged.

More downpours are expected with 30mm of rain forecast, prompting a severe warning across southern England until noon on Sunday.

Some 91 flood warnings and 237 flood alerts are in place.

Motorists embarking on the Christmas getaway are being advised to check their routes in advance.

The Met Office confirmed a tornado had struck the Chertsey area.

Image copyright Connor Passey
Image copyright Verity Boultwood
Image caption Verity Boultwood said the tornado blew the roof off her conservatory

Crews were called at about 10:30 GMT "to a high wind incident affecting a number of houses in the Chertsey area," Surrey Fire and Rescue Service said in a statement.

Four fire engines and two aerial ladders were sent and they worked to "make houses safe from damage to roofs".

Chertsey resident Verity Boultwood said the tornado blew the roof off her conservatory.

"In the past it has withstood bad weather. Luckily nobody was hurt and my partner has managed to fix it.

"One of my neighbours has smashed windows. Trampolines have flown across the gardens here."

Image copyright Connor Passey/PA
Image caption A trampoline was also knocked over

Fellow resident Philip Passey said he froze when he saw the tornado, which he thought lasted about 40 seconds.

"The leaves were going horizontal. I said, 'That looks like a tornado.' There was a huge roar, then nothing.

"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. Son said there was a tree across the garden, two cars have been written off.

"In the farm across the road, we heard a dog broke his leg."

Image copyright Connor Passey/PA
Image caption The tornado caused damage across Chertsey

The tornado came after roads were flooded and rail lines blocked on Friday. The M23 was closed between junctions 10 and 11 in both directions in West Sussex, but has now reopened.

Met Office meteorologist Alex Deakin said: "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."

Mr Deakin said the rain was coming from a "fairly angry weather system" which would also bring some "very strong winds".

Image copyright Eddie Mitchell
Image caption The M23 was closed because of flooding but has now reopened

Ian Nunn, from the Environment Agency, said weather in the south of England was expected to get worse overnight.

"Today we've got a relatively dry period, but we've got more rain coming tonight, possibly up to another 20mm, so although the situation is getting better today, we are going to see it getting worse overnight and into tomorrow morning.

"After that we've got more rain on Sunday and more rain on Monday as well so it's not going to get any better."

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Media captionWeather forecast as further downpours are due across Wales and England after days of heavy rain.

But he added that after Christmas there would be a drier period, "so hopefully things will calm down then".

Highways England has urged motorists to adapt their driving for wet weather by slowing down, keeping well back from the vehicle in front and easing off the accelerator if steering becomes unresponsive.

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