The clean-up process as began after a “mini tornado” hit an estate in Widnes yesterday afternoon.
Residents took to social media to complain of damaged buildings and uprooted trees in the area as extremely high winds battered the Cheshire town after midday on Wednesday.
Both CCTV footage from a house camera on the new build estate off Moorfield Road and residents’ phone camera video posted to social media showed the aftermath of the havoc caused by the storm, with contents of gardens – including fence panels, a trampoline, and childrens’ play sets – seen strewn across the street.
The mini tornado also caused brickwork to collapse and windows to smash due to the strong winds, while tiles were ripped from roofs, trees were torn down, and several cars were dented by flying debris.
Another video showed toppled bins flying down with contents were thrown out.
Resident Claire Earnshaw said she walked back from the shop and “came back to devastation” like a “warzone”.
Another resident John Hatton – who lives on Greenwich Avenue, where the tornado passed through – described the ordeal as “madness”, telling CheshireLive that th extreme winds came out of nowhere and shook his house for around 30 seconds, causing damage to his home and car.
He explained: “I was in the back kitchen preparing my lunch and it just seemed to get windy really quickly, and then everything was blowing in air, there was fence panels blowing round, noises, the house seemed to shake for 20-30 seconds and then calm all of a sudden.”
But after the trail of destruction was left, a clean up has now begun and some road closures were put in place as a result.
A spokesperson for Cheshire Police issued a statement after the incident occurred yesterday, explaining that: “At 12.25pm on Wednesday 20 October, police received reports of damage in the Widnes area [and] the damage includes a wall falling down, windows of cars smashed and debris on Camberwell Park Road.
“A number of road closures are in place, including Camberwell Park Road at the junction of Moorfield Road.
“Damage has also occurred to the garage of a property on Kensington Close.”
The force said there had been no reports of any injuries.
The Met Office also acknowledged that the tornado took place, but added on Twitter that despite how shocking the initial news of it may seem, “they’re not uncommon in the UK”.
A spokesperson went onto explain that there had been several reports of funnel clouds and tornadoes across the UK over the past few weeks, and the narrow, spinning columns of air are formed when the weather is “unstable” and showery.
The Met Office claims that the UK gets more tornadoes per square kilometre than the US, but not more tornadoes in total.
Lee Rigby’s son is raising tens of thousands for charity in honour of his dad
Jack Rigby, the son of soldier Lee Rigby, is raising an absolutely huge amount of money for charity in memory of his father.
Rigby, a former Royal Fusilier who served in Afghanistan for three years, was tragically murdered by extremists Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale outside the Woolwich Barracks in May 2013 and now, over a decade after his death, his son is hoping to raise as much as possible in his honour.
His dad was 25 when he was killed and Jack himself was only two-years-old at the time. Now 13, the inspiring young man set out on his fundraising journey earlier this year, completing a marathon on behalf of Scotty’s Little Soldiers back in May, a military bereavement charity.
Setting himself the goal of reaching the ‘Scotty’s March’ £10k target — i.e. hoping to raise a £1,000 for each year since his passing — Jack and his family have been blown after the fundraiser has already amassed over £55k in donations.
With the goalposts now being moved to £60,000 after Jack and his mum Rebecca’s efforts have led to nearly £55k in contributions to the specialised bereavement organisation to support grieving military children and young people up to the age of 25.
Writing in his post when the fundraiser was first set up, Jack said, “This year marked the 10-year anniversary, it’s never easy but this year felt even harder for some reason. To help me through this year I have been concentrating on raising funds and awareness for Scotty’s Little Soldiers…
“This [has] really helped me to concentrate on something positive at a very difficult time while helping this amazing charity“, an intitiave he has been a part ever since he was a young child, adding that he named his dog Scotty in tribute to their important work for military families across the UK.
It was only earlier this year that the teenager spoke out about his father for the first time having already smashed his fundraising target before he had even run his marathon.
As for mum, she said: “Jack was so excited to see the amount grow and seeing how much each donation made him smile meant the world to me. He and I read all the messages of support and were thankful for them all. We honestly couldn’t believe how kind and generous people were being.”
Featured Image — Gov.uk/Jack Rigby (via Scotty’s Little Soldiers)
Greater Manchester’s volunteer police officers are now trained to deal with ‘high tension’ events
Dozens of volunteer police officers across Greater Manchester are now being given public order training to deal with “high tension” events.
In case you aren’t too familiar, Public Order Public Safety (POPS) is an arm of policing that covers a wide range of events and operations that could present instances of high or increased tension, according to Greater Manchester Police (GMP).
Some events of this nature include protests, festivals, sporting events, and disorder – basically, anywhere where there may be a risk to public safety.
In order to make sure there’s more hands on deck when these situations arise, GMP has now confirmed that it’s beginning the process of training up its volunteer workforce – formally known as Police Specials, of which there are currently about 200 employed to work 16-hours each month – to be able to work such events.
This is so they know how to correctly handle and manage potentially tension-filled situations.
GMP says that around 30 Police Specials completed their level two training over four days at the police force’s specialist training centre in Openshaw this week.
This means they can now be deployed at high-profile events.
Chief Superintendent Chris Hill, who is the strategic lead at GMP, say Police Specials play an “important role” for the police force, as they often join response teams or are put to good use by providing a link between local Greater Manchester communities and GMP.
“Special constables have the same powers and look the same as regular officers,” CS Hill explained, “but the difference is they are volunteers and can have regular jobs as well.
“The specials that completed the training are now highly-trained in tactics, as well as how to use equipment including helmets and shields, and can be deployed to high-profile football matches and events or demonstrations where there is an increase in tension.
“We hope this will make joining GMP as a special a more interesting and exciting prospect.”
Mike Walmsley, who is GMP’s Chief Officer and oversees the Special Constabulary, added how great it is to see a “continued investment” in the special constables.
He continued: “Having a team trained to public order level two allows us to further support our colleagues.
“[It will also] unlock more of the potential that the Special Constabulary has.
“We have already started to map out structured learning and supplied them with laptops and, coupled with further opportunities, this will allow our officers to develop further and support in existing and new areas.”