A FAMILY in Sheffield came just inches from disaster after fierce gales uprooted an enormous tree and sent it crashing into their garden.
The winds caused chaos in Sheffield and across the county, blowing down trees, whipping away roof slates, and destroying a bus.
Andrew Wadlow had just come home from taking his six-year-old son Jude to school to find his front garden flattened by a tree which had stood for generations.
The tree had been torn out of the ground by its roots, along with part of the pavement.
Around £2,000 worth of damage was caused to the house on Edale Road, High Storrs - though miraculously the impact is only superficial.
“The most important thing is nobody was hurt, but we definitely had a lucky escape,” said Andrew, aged 37, a business manager at a medical company.
“I was out taking Jude to school, and my wife Laura was at work, and when I came home I saw the tree. My first thought was it had gone through the roof.
“Luckily it has only damaged the window sills and fascia boards below the gutters.
“But the garden and the perimeter wall are wrecked.”
Andrew added: “The fire service came out and then the council cleared the tree away. They said if it had been a metre taller it would have smashed through the bay windows and the roof.”
Sheffield Council’s tree team attended 46 emergency call-outs yesterday, as gusts whipped across the city.
One tree uprooted by the winds crashed down on top of a bus as it travelled along Hanover Way, Broomhall. The bus was not in service so there were no passengers aboard, and the driver and a colleague also on board at the time were unhurt.
Surinder Jophal, who runs the Upper Hanover Street post office, said she was amazed.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the bus totally covered by the tree,” she said.
Traffic built up as police closed the road while the council moved the damaged First single-decker bus.
In Woodseats, the top half of the tree which gave the name to The Big Tree pub was torn away from its trunk, and the rest of the tree will have to be dismantled for safety reasons.
Stunned pub manager Jacky Prewett, 49, said: “The tree outside is part and parcel of the pub - it can’t be The Big Tree without a big tree!”
There were reports of roof tiles flying off homes on Mansfield Road, Intake, Sheffield.
In Norton a tree came down and landed on the roof of a car parked at the Hemsworth Road side of Graves Park, and in Broomhill a tree was blown over outside Weston Park Museum on Western Bank.
The storm was the strongest to hit the UK in 15 years. Weather experts said the windy weather will continue today, but will ease off through the week.
The M1 Tinsley Viaduct was closed to high-sided vehicles at Meadowhall, and the A628 Woodhead Pass linking Sheffield to Manchester was closed to all vehicles because of high winds.
A Sheffield Council spokeswoman said workmen will attend any report of a fallen tree or branch obstructing a highway.
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