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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 July 2005, 18:14 GMT 19:14 UK
Tornado injures 19 in Birmingham
Amateur footage of the Birmingham tornado
Amateur footage of the Birmingham tornado
Nineteen people have been injured - three seriously - as a tornado ripped through the streets of Birmingham.

The sudden storm damaged buildings, uprooted trees and trapped people in their homes. The Met Office estimates the wind speed may have reached 130mph.

Damage was caused in Kings Heath, with "hundreds" of properties affected, council officials said.

Emergency services used dogs and specialist equipment to see if anyone had been trapped in damaged buildings.

Birmingham City Council set up a shelter at Aston University for people made temporarily homeless to spend the night.

An ambulance spokesperson said: "The Ambulance Service has removed approximately 20 patients to Heartlands Hospital, Selly Oak Hospital, and Dudley.

It looks like something from a film set
Julia Banner
"One child was taken to Birmingham Children's' Hospital. None of the injuries are believed to be life-threatening, although three patients were more seriously injured with fractures.

"Numerous casualties have been treated on scene by ambulance crews and medics, many roads are blocked by fallen trees and ambulance staff were running on foot to reach casualties."

West Midlands Fire Service said the areas affected included Kings Heath, Moseley, Quinton, Balsall Heath and Sparkbrook.

'Frightened children'

Caroline Ward, from the Jon Carrie Nursery in Moseley, said the tornado ripped out fences and toys were whipped into the air.

"Luckily we got the children all inside but they were very frightened," she told BBC News.

Julia Banner, who works in a care home in Moseley, said: "All of a sudden it got dark, the front door blew open and all the notices blew off the notice board.

"The kitchen window was open and all the crockery smashed to the floor.

Car damaged by tornado
The storm hit with very little warning
"It all happened in just a couple of minutes. There is a tree through a car and trees on houses - it looks like something from a film set."

A Met Office spokesperson said: "From the reports we have heard we would estimate that this is a tornado with a rating of T3-T4, that would mean it had wind speeds of between 93-114 mph for T3 and 114-130 for T4.

"A typical description would be that motorcars were lifted and destroyed, roofs removed from buildings and weak buildings destroyed.

"We have an average of 33 reports of tornadoes in the UK each year but these are especially rare in built-up areas and there has not been one of this strength in many years.

"City centres are not the natural habitat of a tornado; the tall buildings would normally stop their formation."

Have you been affected by the mini-tornado?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

I live within a kilometre of Kings Heath High Street. When it hit the place went pretty dark. I looked out the window and didn't see it but the winds were battering the neighbouring trees. I would describe it as a hurricane would look.
Antony, Birmingham

I was in my flat in Moseley when I noticed the rain becoming much heavier and the wind building 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

The tornado hit us at Grantham Road, Sparkbrook. It was like something out of a movie! As I looked at what seemed to be heavy rainfall and thunder, I saw a roof flying through the air followed by a window and debris. My immediate reaction was to run! When I went to inspect the area I could not believe the devastation. Trees were completely uprooted and Farm Park was completely cordoned off by fallen trees with helpless people stuck in the middle of the park.
Eve Hemingway, Sparkbrook, Birmingham

I heard things hitting the window, I thought it was hail. 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. The police arrived within 5 minutes and started taking control. The whole area has been evacuated and sealed off.
Clive Whittaker, Birmingham

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