Terrifying ‘tornado’ destroys London property as police confirm lightning strike

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Londoners have been left baffled as an apparent tornado tore through neighbourhoods on Friday evening, tearing down fences and knocking over trees.

Pictures and videos posted to social media show the extent of the damage that the unexpected weather event has inflicted.

One particularly ominous clip shows dark clouds swirling in a circular formation in the sky above.

Another shows bins and parts of trees being pushed along a residential street as winds howl.

The footage also captures the moment several fences collapse.

Police even attended some neighbourhoods as the wind wreaked havoc, and a lightning strike to the area was also observed.

Official meteorologists say they can't yet confirm if the strong winds were indeed a tornado or not.

Barking and Dagenham Police said on Twitter: "Police were called at around 1920hrs to reports of damage caused to roofs, electrical equipment, street furniture and vehicles in Hulse Avenue and some surrounding roads in the #Barking area.

"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."

Meanwhile Barking residents have been attempting to sweep up the destruction caused by the fierce winds.

Pictures show locals sweeping up the remains of trees and other debris after the winds died down.

Parts of London and Essex have been placed under a yellow thunderstorm warning until 11pm on Friday night.

The Met Office warning reads: "Slow-moving thunderstorms are producing very heavy rain, lightning and hail across northeast Greater London, south Essex and far north Kent.

"Whilst heavy rainfall is quite localised, some places may see 30-40 mm of rainfall in an hour with hail and lightning additional hazards. This thunderstorm is expected to weaken later this evening."

According to the Met Office, tornadoes can occur in the UK.

The Met Office website explains: "Around 30 tornadoes a year are reported in the UK.

"These are typically small and short-lived, but can cause structural damage if they pass over built-up areas."

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