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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 September 2006, 19:37 GMT 20:37 UK
Tornado hits during freak storm
Tree uprooted by tornado, picture supplied by Salena Riley
The tornado uprooted trees and caused flash floods
A householder has spoken of his horror when the roof was blown off his house in a tornado which struck Leeds and Harrogate during a freak storm.

Ranjit Dhanjan said he walked towards his home in the Harehills area of Leeds to find his roof lying in the road.

Firefighters were inundated with a record number of calls during the storm and one man was taken to hospital after he was hit by a falling tree.

There was chaos at Leeds station caused by a signal failure and floods.

The storm damaged buildings, uprooted trees and caused flash flooding across the region.

Leeds City Council said three schools would close on Friday due to flooding or damage caused by the storm.

Guiseley High School, Hunslet Moor Primary School and South Leeds High School were affected.

'Kids screaming'

Mr Dhanjan said his two children were sitting in a car just 100ft away from the house when the roof was blown off.

He said: "If I had come round the corner a little earlier the whole roof would have hit me. I was very, very lucky.

"The kids were screaming. They were terrified. They were right underneath it when it came down."

West Yorkshire Fire Service said it received 90 calls in 30 minutes when the storm broke on Thursday afternoon.

Residents inspect the damage, picture supplied by Martin Quinlan
The tornado ripped tiles off roofs and damaged buildings

A brigade spokeswoman said BT engineers told them it was the largest number of calls ever received by a fire service over a 30 minute period in 20 years.

West Yorkshire Ambulance Service said a man in his 30s was taken to hospital following an incident in Compton Road, Harehills.

David Crothers, of Leeds, told the BBC: "At Leeds Grammar school there was torrential rain and a mini tornado that took tiles off the junior school roof and wet the inside of the sports hall.

"Many people said that the front of a car was picked up by it and a child was thrown into a bin."

Shed damaged

Phil Hardaker who was driving on the M1 in Leeds, midway through the storm said: "The traction control light on my car kept coming on because my wheels were not in contact with the road due to the amount of water on it, and the continued deluge.

"When I returned home I found a tree on my neighbour's shed, roof tiles missing from houses, debris everywhere on the street and 10ft pieces of tree in my back garden.

"At least it livened up an otherwise mundane day."

Tim Pyke was working in the O2 Call Centre at Arlington Business Centre in Leeds when the storm struck.

He said: "The rain fell so hard it got within the building somehow and this resulted in the ceilings of the ground floor pouring with water.

"It started to spread so badly that the building had to be evacuated but we were able to return to the building later on."


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