London Fire Brigade

Brigade braced for more stormy weather following mini tornado

13 January 2015

Firefighters in London are preparing for more stormy weather in the capital, with the Met Office predicting gusts of up to 50-60mph and heavy rain on Wednesday evening into Thursday morning.

The warning follows a mini tornado that struck Grafton Road in Harrow on Tuesday. It ripped through a single story garage and caused minor damage to homes and cars in surrounding roads.

Fire chiefs are warning Londoners to take care to ensure loose objects such as garden furniture and items on balconies are secure ahead of the strong winds. Crews are on standby to help in the event of structural damage or accidents caused by the weather, which could lead to unsafe conditions for the public.

Assistant Commissioner Tim Cutbill, the Brigade’s head of operational resilience, said:

“London firefighters are fully trained and available to help anyone who might be affected by the weather. We are on hand should any buildings, hoardings, or scaffolding be left in a precarious position in the high winds posing a risk to life.

“The Met Office is predicting strong gusts that could reach 50-65mph, so we’re urging people to secure loose objects around their homes and to close their windows. Take extra care if you’re out and about or driving, as strong winds can knock things over and pick up flying debris.

“We are anticipating that our firefighters and Control officers will be very busy so please only call 999 if it is a genuine emergency.”

The Brigade said that its firefighters are prepared and are trained to deal with severe weather, including high winds. The Brigade also has a role in coordinating the national response to severe weather.

The Met Office has issued yellow severe weather warnings for wind across all of London and rain for southern parts of Greater London. The rainfall warning reads:

“A deepening area of low pressure is expected to track across the north of the UK during Wednesday and into Thursday. A spell of heavy rainfall is expected across many parts of western and southern England and Wales in association with this system, lasting from Wednesday afternoon until Thursday morning, when clearer, colder weather is expected to spread southeast.

“The public should be aware of the risk of disruption  to travel due to standing water and spray as well as localised flooding.”

Fire chiefs have issued the following advice to help people stay safe during high winds.

• Clear gardens, balconies, and window sills of anything that could be blown away.
• Take extra care if you venture outside.
• If you have a power cut, be very careful if you use candles.