Storm Gerrit was named on the 26th December and ravaged the UK yesterday. The Met Office names storms when they have “the potential to cause disruption or damage which could result in an amber or red warning”. This storm has certainly lived up to such potential, wreaking havoc across the UK during the Christmas period.
The storm hit the southeast first and progressively moved up the UK. Heavy rain, snow, and strong winds (up to 70mph in some areas) were forecast and brought with them a multitude of disruptive impacts.
Perhaps the most drastic impact seen so far has been the onset of a localised ‘tornado’ in the Stalybridge area of Greater Manchester. Although no injuries have been reported, over 100 homes were evacuated and several homes and cars were damaged. The worst affected areas were Millbrook and Carrbrook. Whilst around 30 small tornados are recorded each year in the UK, they rarely cause much destruction and are not a familiar sight for UK residents, making this occurrence in Greater Manchester particularly shocking.
Travel was also greatly disrupted. Weather warnings urged against driving, with roads (including major routes such as the A1) being closed due to flooding, and cars being stranded in Scotland due to snowfall. Many trains have also been cancelled due to the severe weather conditions, which have caused numerous cases of flooding across rail lines. For those travelling to see loved ones, or seeking out some winter sun, the cancellation of flights across the UK due to strong winds have caused major disturbance. There have also been cancellations to ferries travelling to the Scottish islands and across the Channel, with Condor Ferries cancelling all their ferries between the UK and the Channel Islands from the 26th to the 28th of December.
In Scotland, the flooding and snowfall caused by Storm Gerrit have left thousands without power. In some locations, particularly in northeast, rural Scotland, these power outages have been predicted to last for 48 hours.
Many across the UK are making efforts to tackle the damage already caused by the storm, but Storm Gerrit and its negative impacts are not over yet with more disruption predicted over the coming days.