Great Britain

Surrey tornado – ‘Screaming’ family feared for their lives as freak storm wrecked homes, toppled trees and damaged cars

A SCREAMING family feared for their lives as a freak tornado ripped through their home in Surrey.

Stunned Pip Rickerby, 39, revealed the moment the weather phenomenon wreaked havoc on her street, ripping fences up and launching a trampoline into the sky.

The mum-of-two told how her daughters, aged seven and nine, were left screaming in terror when the storm hit.

She told Sun Online: "It was absolutely mental. I actually feared for my life.

"I thought it was going to take my house like in the Wizard of Oz.

"It was really heavy rain and we were about to take our dog Toto out.It was really frightening, like nothing I've ever seen in my life - like we weren't in the UK.

"My girls were screaming. If they were outside it would definitely have taken them away.

"It was fierce. At one point I thought it was going to take the house. It was literally taking everything in its path.

"It lasted for about 30 seconds but it was just crazy, terrifying."

Shocking snaps revealed the damage to homes with trees and objects strewn across streets.

Fire chiefs confirmed at least 20 homes and ten cars were damaged in the weather terror.

I actually feared for my life. I thought it was going to take my house like in the Wizard of Oz.

Resident Pip Rickerby

Another neighbour said the windy blast was "like a plane taking off" as it barreled through Chertsey and Shepperton.

Tracy Bramley, who was sitting in her car when the tornado struck, told Surrey Live: "We’ve got a hole in our roof.

"It lasted less than a minute, it just started to gradually build.

"I was sat in my car at the time, it all changed really quickly, it started to whip up, I could feel my car beginning to rock a bit, it just came a bit out of nowhere really.

A statement from the Met Office said: "There have been reports of a tornado in Chertsey, Surrey this morning.

"The radar image on the left shows the heavy shower that would have caused it.

"The Doppler image on the right shows relative motion of rain droplets; the circled area highlights the rapid circulation."

Tim Readings, assistant group commander and incident commander at Surrey Fire and Rescue, said: "We got called here at about 10.30am to a report of a tornado.

"There are in excess of 20 houses with damaged roofs and 10 private cars that have been damaged by falling tiles. There are fences and trees down.

"We are using two aerial appliances, one from Leatherhead and one from Guildford, and firefighters from various stations to make it safe and remove any dangerous tiles and support residents, because obviously this has happened right before Christmas so we are doing everything we can.