Homes damaged as ‘tornado’ hits east London

The Metropolitan Police’s Barking and Dagenham Twitter account said they have seen reports of a tornado but cannot confirm them

Several homes suffered damage amid reports of a tornado in east London

Footage shared on social media showed collapsed garden walls, bricks strewn across driveways and fallen tree branches scattered across the road in Barking on Friday.

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Police said they were called at about 7.20pm to reports of damage to roofs, electrical equipment and vehicles in the area of Hulse Avenue.

Homes in Barking (Shutterstock)
Homes in Barking (Shutterstock)

‘A weather related incident’

The Metropolitan Police’s Barking and Dagenham Twitter account said: “This is a weather related incident, during which there was a lightning strike.

“In addition to the lightning strike, we have seen reports of a tornado but cannot confirm this.

“There are no reports of any casualties. Officers are liaising with the local authority to ensure support is available to anyone affected by damage to property.”

Barking and Dagenham Council tweeted: “We’re aware of the severe weather damage in the Barking area and our immediate response team along with the police and fire brigade are on hand sorting any issues.”

Met Office forecaster Matthew Box said “it is probable that a brief tornado did occur”.

A series of meteorological conditions are needed to create a tornado, including a funnel of cloud that reaches the ground, and these various factors have not been confirmed by experts.

Mr Box said: “The associated thunderstorms produced some very heavy and impactful rain over parts of north and east London and Essex which did result in flooding and travel disruption.”

Some places are likely to have seen more than 40mm of rainfall in an hour.

Mr Box added that none of the Met Office’s sites recorded the wind associated with the event, mainly because “it was on a small scale relatively speaking”.

He said: “For those affected, there were very damaging winds.”

The Met Office had issue a yellow thunderstorm warning on Friday evening which expired at 11pm.

There are about 35 tornadoes on average in the UK each year which would possibly cover “tens to hundreds of metres” and not be on the large scale that you might find in the US, Mr Box said.