'Tornado' damages cars and homes in London during thunderstorm

Emergency services were called to the area, though there were no reports of casualties

Commuters use their umbrellas to shelter from the rain as they cross London Bridge in London, U.K., on Monday, June 21, 2021. Almost half of London companies whose staff can work from home expect them to do so up to five days a week after the pandemic finishes, and smaller businesses are more likely than larger ones to move ahead with remote working. Photographer: Hollie Adams/Bloomberg
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A freak UK weather event brought "a tornado" and flash flooding to east London, locals said on Friday.
Lightning strikes were recorded in the Barking area but police were not able to immediately confirm that a tornado had touched down.
The possible tornado, a rarity in the UK, was first reported on Sky News by a reporter who lives in the area.

"It was really shocking. I looked out of our daughter's window, our garden fence flew off and a tree came down,” said Kiran Bhangal of Sky News.

"Rubbish and plastic bags were going around and round like a tornado. That was scary as those can pick up heavy objects."
Emergency services were called to the area at 7.20pm on Friday after the storm ripped down fences, damaged walls and battered cars.

There were also reports of localised flooding due to heavy rain.
"This is a weather-related incident, during which there was a lightning strike," the Metropolitan Police's Barking and Dagenham Twitter account said.
"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 said its staff also attended the scene. 
"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," said the council.

The UK usually only reports about 30 tornadoes a year, and they are usually small and only last for a short time.

A tornado in the south-eastern Czech Republic, another country with few twisters, killed at least three people and injured hundreds on Thursday.

The tornado formed during a series of strong thunderstorms that hit the country.