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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 August 2005, 16:58 GMT 17:58 UK
Birmingham Tornado: Your accounts
Cars struggle through floodwater

A tornado has ripped through Birmingham, leaving a trail of destruction and injuring 20 people - three seriously.

The sudden, twisting high winds, of up to 130mph, reportedly lasted only minutes but caused chaos in areas in the south of the city including Sparkbrook, Balsall Heath, Moseley and Kings Heath.

It damaged hundreds of buildings, uprooted trees and wrecked cars. Entire streets of houses had their roofs ripped off.

Hundreds of people have had to spend the night in emergency accommodation.

Did you experience the tornado?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

I was in my garden when it suddenly went black. Then the wind picked and started to get faster and louder. At this point I knew that this was no ordinary wind and I had to get into the house. Debris was flying all over and trees were rattling. I rushed into my house and I couldn't even shut the door. The wind was so strong that I had to really force the door shut. It was over in 40 seconds, when I opened the door the trees had disappeared. I went out onto the streets and it was like a war zone. Trees and debris everywhere, cars misplaced roofs torn off. Scenes from twister came to mind.
Mohammed Rafiq, Moseley, Birmingham

Far from being a mini tornado, this has had a significant impact on the local area
Mr T D Wright, Moseley, Birmingham
Thankfully my flat is still intact, however the same cannot be said for many of the trees and roofs in the area. Dozens of trees litter the roadsides and the scenery has changed dramatically. Far from being a mini tornado, this has had a significant impact on the local area.
Mr T D Wright, Moseley, Birmingham

I live in the centre of Moseley and although my house is untouched, a few houses on my road were not so lucky and my friend's house, which is a stones throw from mine, is literally obliterated with no roof or gas and very unstable walls. Most of the houses on his road are in the same way, some with trees now sprouting from them and cars flattened also.
Justin Powers, Moseley, Birmingham

My friend has been trying to get down her road, Woodstock Road, all evening. Apparently, there is no roof on her house, every single window has smashed and even the interior walls are bowing, cracked and crumbling. She now has nowhere to live.
Tracy Russon, Solihull

Unbelievable sight, looks worse then any movie set! A scene of utter carnage: trees uprooted and across the roads, on cars, on roofs; houses missing roofs and tiles, windows smashed, fences blown over, cars tossed to one side; it was everything you can imagine and more.
Harmy, Moseley

I laughed when someone said there'd been a tornado in nearby King's Heath. No way, I thought!
Liz Munro, Moseley
I got home to find one tree crashed onto the front of my house, another crashed from my garden into my neighbour's garden, chimneys smashed to smithereens after falling off my neighbour's house. My neighbour suffered even worse damage from fallen chimneys and gaping holes in her roof. Earlier in the day I laughed when someone said there'd been a tornado in nearby King's Heath. No way, I thought!
Liz Munro, Moseley

I was in Kings Heath High Street. I thought I was going to die. I was surrounded by a maelstrom of destruction. They talk about the dark cloud of terror that has touched Birmingham but this was the real thing. Debris was flying everywhere. An already stretched police force were magnificent.
Mike Hunt, Kings Heath, Birmingham

I was travelling through the Sutton Coldfield area during the time that the tornado struck, and found the atmosphere - it went deadly quiet and very dark. I looked through my car's windscreen to watch very heavy rainfall with the clouds spinning in a tight circle as if a tornado was trying to form...very frightening!
Sarah, Birmingham

My mum lives about 3 miles from Moseley and knew nothing about it until friends and family began phoning her up to see if she was okay!
David Hazel, Fareham, UK

A huge swirl of wind and debris
Faisel Muhammad, Sparkhill, Birmingham
I was walking to Stoney lane (Sparkhill) when all of a sudden, it went very dark and the humidity became intense. Then, it just went crazy! A huge swirl of wind and debris. It lasted a minute, then went.
Faisel Muhammad, Sparkhill, Birmingham

I was actually out in the storm just around the corner from Kings Heath High Street and the wind was awful, there were bins flying around and tree falling to pieces. It was a truly terrifying experience so I had to hastily ran back inside and watched with terror at the happenings around my house. An unforgettable experience.
Jamie Sherwood, Kings Heath, Birmingham

I was in the mosque when my brother called me telling me that my sister in law and the kids were scared and to go pick them up after what had happened. As I walked down the road it was like a movie scene, roof bricks on the road, people making noise.
Maj, Birmingham

I was walking with my mates to my house and it suddenly became dark. We decided to walk faster because we got quite frightened and the wind picked up slightly. All of a sudden it became so gusty. If we didn't speed up to get to my house, we could have been injured as trees fell down.
Amanda Bearling, Moseley, UK

When I saw the headline "Birmingham and Tornado" I assumed it was in Alabama, USA. What's going on?
Eddie Punch, Freiburg, Germany

The air seemed to be really warm with bursts of cool air
Matthew Evans, West Heath, Birmingham
I was at a farm about 2 miles from Kings Heath with quite a good view across the countryside. The storm cloud was unlike anything I have seen before, very dark and murky and low to the ground, with a steamy mist travelling in front of it. When it came over the top of us, the wind was incredible and seemed to be blowing in two directions at once, pulling the edges of the clouds right down low and then back up high again. The air seemed to be really warm with bursts of cool air. We had a deluge of rain that lasted no more than 2 minutes and then sun came out and the sky was clear. The whole thing took about 20 minutes.
Matthew Evans, West Heath, Birmingham

I saw the tornado racing down Anderton Park Road in Moseley from my attic window. It swerved on to Sandford Road, where it uprooted trees and tiles off houses. One has no roof altogether. When the tornado moved on to Sandford Road, a black VW Polo was driving towards it. I then saw the same car reverse furiously away from the tornado.
Jumshad Khan, Moseley, Birmingham

I was on the bus heading out of town down the Stratford Road when a pile of debris was flying through the air, the bus started to shake and everyone was panicking.
Dave Mustaine, Hall-Green, Birmingham

I was caught up in the tornado in Balsall Heath. All of a sudden, it went dark and silent. Then a whirring sound was heard. The local greengrocers and shops had their items outside and they were blown away and the building I was in had its windows smashed. Trees were uprooted and cars were severely damaged. I would like to praise the local emergency services for their quick response.
Tessa, Moseley, Birmingham

The rain was coming down so fast that the wipers could not keep up
Wendy Carter, Dudley
I was driving with friends to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. I have been driving for 25 years and through many weather conditions, but nothing prepared me for today. The rain was coming down so fast that the wipers could not keep up. Manhole covers were shooting into the air as the volume of rain came down. Traffic was at 10 miles an hour. When we turned onto the Hagley Road, there was just a lake of water across the road with cars and vans floating on it.
Wendy Carter, Dudley

Me and my daughter was just coming out of the Iceland store when we noticed that the sky went very black.

We realised that the wind was picking up and it started to rain. I told my daughter to run and to get cover. We went into a shop a couple of doors away. Just as we were entering we heard shop roofs collapsing.

Everyone in the shop moved away from the front windows of the shop. After a couple of minutes we went outside and saw the devastation. Cars were forced to the other side of the road, bins went through car windows. Leaves, tiles and glass were all across the road.

As we walked down the High Street we saw the aftermath of the tornado. Everybody was helping each other and making sure they were OK and not hurt. The only sounds that you could hear were the sirens of the police, ambulance and fire crews.
Estelle Skidmore, Hockley, Birmingham

I was helping coach a judo class in the sports centre opposite and I heard this huge crash on the roof. There were branches being thrown around, and then the front of Iceland blew apart and a man sitting in the pay hut in the car park next to us was just blown in the air with little effort at all.

As I was driving through Moseley it was literally a case of dodging and weaving the trees.
Ben Jones, Kings Heath, Birmingham, England

I was in my garden hanging out my washing and I could hear grumbling in the sky and was waiting for thunder to come and rain but it just got windy and very dark. I thought it was strange at the time, then I could hear sirens and was shocked to realise that what I could hear from Solihull was the tornado.
Joanne Whyte, Solihull, West Midlands

It took 1.5 hours for me to travel through Sparkbrook this afternoon at 1700hrs, and the scenes of destruction were overwhelming with much debris in the road and many roads closed by police.

I am astonished this can happen in this part of the UK
Dan Curwood, Quinton, UK
Even from the street you could see some sort of path taken by the tornado, with nearly every house damaged in some way on my left, and on the right virtually no indication at all of what had happened.

I am astonished this can happen in this part of the UK, never mind so close to home. Does this raise more questions on pollution and its seemingly ever-increasing effect on today's weather?
Dan Curwood, Quinton, UK

I work for BBC Birmingham and had been on my way home to get to a doctor's appointment but got stuck in traffic and had to ring and cancel because all roads were blocked.

I got home to find one tree crashed onto the front of my house, another crashed from my garden into my neighbour's garden, and chimneys smashed to smithereens after falling off my neighbour's house.

My neighbour suffered even worse damage from fallen chimneys and gaping holes in her roof. Earlier in the day I laughed when someone said there'd been a tornado in nearby Kings Heath. No way, I thought!
Liz Munro, Moseley

I was trying to get to my parents house just after the tornado hit and after four hours of trying I turned back to return to Milton Keynes. It was like a war zone in some parts of the affected areas. Coventry Road was totally closed off by the Blues Football Ground and debris was littered everywhere. It was like a bomb had gone off.

My thoughts go out to all the injured and the affected families and community of Birmingham.
Zahid Ahmed, Milton Keynes

I along with a work colleague had been to Shirley to deliver a letter and on the way back stopped off for something to eat in Sparkbrook. It was like all hell had broken loose - there were garden pots from a local shop, corrugated iron, roof tiles and trees flying all over the place.

People were screaming and when we went to get into the car the door nearly came off its hinges. The door will not now close and the car has been damaged badly by debris.

Driving then back to work towards Birmingham there were trees all over the road and we were just driving around them so that we could get back to work. It was surreal. We were just laughing and also horrified at the same time.

I had just asked my colleague for a lift to deliver a letter. It will now be a costly trip for him! When we got to work we were a little late and just said sorry we are late we were caught in a tornado. We didn't know then that was what it was, and they just all said "yeah right". At least they now know we weren't telling porkies.
Joyce Tatler, Birmingham

I grabbed hold of a post in anticipation of being blown off my feet
Lynne, Birmingham
I was right next to the churchyard in Kings Heath when the tornado hit. Where I was standing (immediately below the CCTV cameras next to the public toilets) it was just moderately breezy, but I could see the trees in the churchyard, some of them probably less than 10 metres away from me, being battered violently.

I grabbed hold of a post in anticipation of being blown off my feet, but that never happened; I just watched as two of the large trees closest to me were uprooted and toppled over - fortunately into the churchyard, not onto the street. It only lasted maybe 20 seconds or so.

There were two casualties near me: a teenage boy who'd been hit by another falling tree which had hurt his back, and a woman on the other side of the street who I believe had been hit by flying shop signs which had lacerated her legs. Ambulances were called and I believe they were both taken to hospital.

A few doors further north, the front half of the roof had been completely blown off Gregg's the bakers and the neighbouring card shop. Tiles and bits of tree were scattered across the road for some distance.
Lynne, Birmingham

I was travelling through the Sutton Coldfield area during the time that the tornado struck, and found the atmosphere very unnerving. The atmosphere went deadly quiet and very dark - I looked through my car's windscreen to watch very heavy rainfall with the clouds spinning in a tight circle as if a tornado was trying to form...very frightening!
Sarah, Birmingham

There was also a tornado in Peterborough today which caused damage to trees and property in the Gunthorpe area. A tree hit someone's house and many more were ripped out of the ground. Several roofs have had tiles ripped off including mine. My garden was also pretty much re-arranged
Frank O'Sullivan, Peterborough

I was walking with my mates to my house and it suddenly became dark. We decided to walk faster because we got quite frightened and the wind picked up slightly. All of a sudden it became so gusty, if we didn't speed up to get to my house, we could have been injured as trees fell down.
Amanda Bearling, Moseley, UK

It was a truly terrifying experience
Jamie Sherwood, Kings Heath
I was actually out in the storm just around the corner from Kings Heath High Street and the wind was awful, there were bins flying around and tree falling to pieces. It was a truly terrifying experience so I had to hastily run back inside and watch with terror at the happenings around my house. An unforgettable experience.
Jamie Sherwood, Kings Heath

Peterborough also had a tornado today. My parents likened the noise to that of a train going through a station. The storm seemingly came from nowhere and was over in three minutes. Branches (10 feet long) were thrown across three gardens and landed in the road. Luckily we only suffered a damaged lilac tree, but those around us have fallen TV aerials and roof damage.
Anna, Peterborough

I was walking to Stony Lane (Sparkhill) when all of a sudden, it went very dark and the humidity became intense. Then, it just went crazy! A huge swirl of wind and debris. It lasted a minute, then went. It was quite amazing. But the aftermath was anything but.
Faisel Muhammad, Sparkhill, Birmingham

It was madness, cars being lifted up, the flag poles snapped off at their bases
Jane Trobridge, Birmingham
I was at work in Small Heath close to the Morrison's Supermarket and Big W right next to the Birmingham City Ground. There were a couple of really loud thunder claps and bright lightning strikes and then the wind picked up. We looked out of the window and there was loads of debris flying around - bits of trees, roof insulation and rubbish.

Suddenly everything started blowing UPWARDS. I tried to get out to get a better look but I couldn't actually force the door open. I could see loads of flying debris circling the Morrisons car park, and then the roof seemed to life off the petrol station on the other side of the car park and swing almost completely upright and then fall back down. Behind it there were trees and bricks flying about. It was madness, cars being lifted up, the flag poles snapped off at their bases.

It suddenly went weirdly quiet and then seemed to pass - and I went to the back of the building and the whole thing just seemed to pass over and then move across the road to the Blues Ground, where it suddenly seemed to dissipate almost instantly. I guess even tornados lose heart when they reach St Andrews.

My workplace is missing a fair few tiles and there's rubbish and tree branches everywhere. Across the road there are a couple of houses that have lost the everything to the floorboards of the first floor; it's all in the road. Poor trees devastated in the road. Then the police and fire brigade were there really quickly and everything was blocked off and so began the gridlock of Birmingham.

It took me an age to do the usually 10 minute drive back home to Balsall Heath at 5 - I'm really near Moseley. My boyfriend just got back from Moseley where apparently police have been bussed down from Sheffield to help secure the area - all those lovely trees uprooted and thrown through beautiful old Victorian and Edwardian houses, people standing beneath the sky in their bedrooms in shock.

Tree surgeons just cutting a car-sized gap through the worst of the fallen trees to try to get some access. More saddening even than the devastation is the fact that gangs of kids have decided to spend their school holidays looting through the ruins. So people who have had their houses wrecked also have to deal with these kids stealing anything they can find. Shocking day.
Jane Trobridge, Birmingham

I was in my local club when it happened. It was terrifying, everyone was screaming and crying. It was just a thunderstorm at first but then it went pitch black and then suddenly a big gust of wind took over. The windows shattered and the blind and the notices on the wall were going crazy. I had never being so scared in my life. Such a big thing in a small local town.
Annie, Kings Heath

I was cycling along the road, then I saw it in the distance coming towards me, I was so shocked I didn't know what to do, then after about 10 seconds I realised I should turn around. I cycled as fast as my bike could take me to safety.
James Snake, Birmingham

When I got home from work this evening I found some loft insulation in my garden and there was some on my neighbour's roof. I can only assume that this was debris from the tornado.
Mr Ashley Gray, Streetly, Sutton Coldfield

My mother is not allowed into her house or road for the night because the tornado ripped through Alder Road, Moseley taking roofs and cars and contents alike and smashing into the road police say it will be tomorrow before she can get into rescue her cat from the kitchen!!
Mr G Jones, Birmingham

I live nearby in Moseley and got back from work to find my entire road covered in branches, cars have been smashed and bricks have come off most of the houses. Everybody on the road is clubbing together to clean the place up.
William Mitting, Birmingham, UK

My family and I were sitting in the kitchen with the lights on playing scrabble and all of a sudden, outside went really dark so we turned off the lights to see what it was like outside. The wind howled around the house and hail began to pour down along with rain and sleet. There were leaves flying around the sky everywhere and we could see small pieces of wood caught up in the wind too. It was really scary and we didn't know quite what was going on and thought that it was just a spell of bad weather. Then, as suddenly as it began, it was gone again and the sun came back out.
Emma McGarry, Kings Heath England

The tornado tried to rip my balcony doors off even though they were locked at the time and I heard it ripping through my kitchen and bedroom where I'd left windows open. As I hung on to the doors with all my strength I noticed all the birds being carried away and I don't think they'll be back. Then I went into our large garden and saw two huge poplar trees had been blown down from next door and devastated it. Fences, garden furniture and tables all smashed. All my plants. All my hard work for the last few years getting it wildlife friendly - all gone.
Gillian Randle, Moseley Birmingham

I was at work around about 2:45 when i received a phone call from my wife informing me that there were several loud bangs and that the neighbours across the roads roof had been blown away and that there were people outside panicking. I automatically assumed a bomb had been set off.

A few seconds later my colleagues wife phoned him and told him that their roof had been blown off. At this point I knew we were dealing with something else. I decided to drive home and straight away we noticed bits of large debris on the roads. It got a lot worse as we saw whole trees lifted out of their places as if they were plucked out.

Some roads were blocked and inaccessible as huge trees were in the middle preventing access. We were left with no alternative except to park the car a few streets away and walk the rest of the way home. The roads were absolutely littered with branches, bricks, roofing etc.

We saw many cars with their windows broken and there were a few cars which trees and big branches had fallen on top of. There was damage to several cars as bits of debris had fallen on them and dented them/ broken windows.

Farm Park was unrecognisable as most of the trees had been ripped out. There is absolute chaos on the roads at the moment as it's rush hour time. I can estimate the clean up operation taking a considerable amount of time.

It seems so unreal and as if though it's a film set. There was a helicopter warning the residents to evacuate from the streets behind ours hence my colleague and his family are at my house. We are waiting in anticipation as to what will happen in the hours to come.
Rizwan Safdar, Sparkbrook Birmingham

I was in a store just off Kings Heath High Street when the building began to shake and there was a sound akin to a roof being pulled off somewhere. A few minutes later police cars and fire engines were heard, and the High Street looked like a small battle zone, with foliage, large branches, parts of roofs and awnings strewn about. A few minutes later a friend in Moseley reported getting hit by mud and her windows smashing. A few streets away from Kings Heath high street there was no sign of damage whatsoever (ladders and light scaffold totally intact). The tornado appears to have been tightly contained within its path.
Robert Sharl, Kings Heath, Birmingham UK

I was at work in the yard and then suddenly it all went dark. Then the stuff outside started blowing everywhere. The roof sheets were blown everywhere, there were a few trees that fell down near the building, the windows that were being displayed fell down and the fences were blown down. People were scared and running inside. The whole building was shaking and they felt like they were going to brake. I work at Cambabest.
Dev Parmar, Great Barr, Birmingham

I was on the bus heading out of town down the Stratford Road when a pile of debris was flying through the air, the bus started to shake and everyone was panicking.
Dave Mustaine, Hall-Green, Birmingham, West Mids

I saw the tornado racing down Anderton Park Road in Moseley from my attic window. It swerved onto my road, Sandford Road, where it uprooted trees and tiles off houses. A particular house on Sandford Road has no roof altogether. When the tornado moved on to Sandford Road, a black VW Polo was driving towards the tornado. I then saw the same car reverse furiously away from the tornado. I ducked to take cover as the tornado hit my home as well as others on my road. When it subsided I saw that the VW Polo was facing the opposite direction. The tornado had turned the whole car by 180 degrees. All windows were shattered and the driver still inside. By the time I came out into the road, the car had driven off. I hope the occupant is okay. The tornado was at least 200-300 yards wide. It had literally taken the cone like shape. I only believed this to happen in open places, like America. Moseley has a dense population of trees. How it happened? I really do not know!
Jumshad Khan, Moseley, Birmingham

I was in our office on the Ladypool Road in Balsall Heath. I heard things hitting the window, I thought was hail. I heard a co-worker say 'look at the wind out there' and I looked up to see what I thought were leaves moving round in a circle about 50m across. I realised that they were stones and roof tiles. The window next door smashed so we sheltered in the corridor until it passed. when I went outside, there was total devastation and chaos. All the curry houses suffered damage, many had roofs off and the road was littered with bricks and tiles and other debris, trees down blocking most of the roads, cars and vans on their sides and with all the windows smashed. The police arrived within 5 minutes and started taking control. The whole area has been evacuated and sealed off. The damage in Kings Heath, where I live, is minor
Clive Whittaker, Birmingham

I was walking up Kings Heath high street when the sky darkened considerably and several metal signs went flying past. Branches and other detritus were swirling in that familiar pattern, but I stayed on my feet.

It was over in less than 3 minutes but it left me with a most interesting hairstyle.
Jeff Harbourne, Moseley

I was in my flat in Moseley when I noticed the rain becoming much heavier and the wind build up. I went to the window to look out and my ears suddenly popped. The wind got much stronger and large trees were bending back and forth. Bits of roofing were blowing past the window of my 1st floor flat - I went away from the window as a piece of slate blew through it. On going outside, I found the road blocked by fallen trees and several cars were crushed. A tree has fallen against the block of flats causing some structural damage.
Neil Drury, Moseley, Birmingham





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