At 2.30pm on July 28th 2005, the Balti Triangle was hit by Britain’s worst recorded Urban Tornado. Lasting just four minutes and travelling at speeds of up to 130mph, it caused £40m worth of damage but miraculously no one was killed with only 20 people requiring hospital treatment.
One thousand trees were uprooted with 700 buildings damaged and 90 cars damaged beyond repair. Almost stranger than fiction, the last recorded Urban Tornado in Britain of this magnitude was in the 1930s in exactly the same area – nicknamed Bertha!
Local worker Tabriz Hussain said, ‘I was queuing up for my fish and chips when suddenly everything went dark. There was an enormous rushing sound and suddenly a tree crashed through the plate glass window. I suffered cuts and bruises but still managed to finish my chips’ – a Local Hero!
On a more serious note, many people were made homeless and had to be relocated whilst their houses were rebuilt and repaired. Many local businesses suffered in the same way but the area has now recovered with the trauma thankfully a distant memory to many of those who suffered. The City Council provide a great deal of support in terms of money and resources without a single penny of help from Her Majesty’s Gov’t….one wonders if that would have been the case if a similar Tornado had hit Oxford St or Picadilly Circus!