The northern regions of the UK were severely impacted by Storm Gerrit, which unleashed high winds, heavy snowfall, and intense rain. This powerful storm resulted in significant property damage, widespread train cancellations, and left thousands of residents in Scotland and parts of northern England without electricity.
On Thursday, utility workers in coastal areas of Scotland battled with wind speeds reaching 80 miles per hour, striving to restore electricity disrupted by debris damaging utility lines. Approximately 14,000 households were still powerless on Thursday morning.
In Manchester, northwest England, police reported multiple instances of homes being damaged by what appeared to be a “localized tornado” on Wednesday night. The devastation included roofs ripped off buildings and cars damaged by falling trees, with even garden sheds being carried away by the storm.
The Met Office, UK’s meteorological authority, identified the phenomenon as a “supercell thunderstorm” featuring a potent rotating updraft, which affected the Greater Manchester area. Due to the severe damage and potential safety hazards, around 100 properties were evacuated, and Greater Manchester Police declared a major incident, although no injuries were reported.
Train services across Scotland suffered considerably, with several routes suspended pending comprehensive network inspections. A train was struck by a falling tree, directly impacting the driver’s cabin, fortunately without causing any injuries.
Additionally, snowfall obstructed various roads in Scotland. Heathrow Airport, the UK’s principal airport, canceled 18 flights on Wednesday, citing air traffic control limitations on domestic routes, and the disruption extended to flights destined for European cities such as Barcelona and Berlin.