AN elderly couple have told of their horror after a freak storm caused their chimney stack to crash to the ground.
Byron and Audrey Davies, of Festival Road, Branston, were sitting at home when the violent weather – which brought thunder, lightning, torrential rain and hail – hit on Saturday.
More than 30 homes in Branston were affected in some way, with the worst damage thought to be in Fairway.
Mr Davies, 81, who has been cleaning up the mess ever since, said: “I didn’t see it but a lad living opposite said he saw the stack coming right over – it knocked it right off, and loads of roof tiles and the aerial came off too.
“It scared us to death. It sounded like the house was coming down on top of us.
“We were sitting in the house and someone came to the back door and told us the chimney was off.
“It was frightening more than anything.”
The damage has been assessed and Mr Davies thinks it will cost at least £1,000 to repair. Fortunately, his insurance is likely to cover it.
Other houses in the street also suffered roof damage.
The fire service attended and removed dangerous items.
The storm hit at around 2pm on Saturday and caused havoc across East Staffordshire and South Derbyshire, with Branston being the worst affected area.
A brick wall was blown over at the entrance to the Regents Park estate.
Police said they had not received any reports of major incidents caused by the storm.
Traffic in many areas was forced to a near standstill due to hail battering windscreens and making it difficult for drivers to see the road.
The storm caught many people by surprise – such extreme weather is unusual for January.
A cold snap is due to take hold in Burton and South Derbyshire this week, with temperatures expected to dip to below freezing by Thursday night.
The Environment Agency issued a flood warning for the River Trent in Burton on Saturday, which remained in place until last night.
The warning related to river levels in the Croxall and Drakelow areas.