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A mini tornado hit east London last night and the scenes were like something out of a disaster movie.
Footage shared on social media showed high winds pummelling the streets of Barking and Dagenham, with fallen tree branches flying across the roads and walls collapsing as a result of the onslaught.
Residents posted images and videos of their surroundings, as they voiced their bewilderment at the extreme weather event.
The shocking scenes featured debris soaring through the air and flash-flooding, with one viewer commenting: “Climate change is no joke.”
Police said they “weren’t able to confirm” reports of a tornado, but people in the area seemed pretty sure of what they saw.
Here’s a glimpse at what they endured:
This happened in the UK? Climate change is no joke. A whole Barking una 😳 https://t.co/LhcXJo4eoi — shannonrosanna (@shannonrosanna)
OMG we had tornadoes 🌪 in barking and Dagenham https://t.co/pIduKQZad7 — Stephs_secretscents (@Stephs_secretscents)
How is there a whole tornado in Barking 😭😭 that place is acc cursed https://t.co/094BJoSu4V — ✾ (@✾)
🌪 #Tornado in #Barking #Essex Today https://t.co/JIOq5ocz6O — IMRANO © ⚒ (@IMRANO © ⚒)
Tornado in Barking, wth!! https://t.co/Y5HaRJKyM7 — Yamin321 (@Yamin321)
So that was definitely a tornado in Barking, East London right? https://t.co/iVqBGLZvzb — Sohaib Malik (@Sohaib Malik)
If you ever need proof of climate change, look to the tornado in Barking.
Sure it may be small in comparison to ot… https://t.co/Dd1mgFMrqR — ℜ𝔦𝔠 𝔓𝔢𝔫𝔡𝔯𝔞𝔤𝔬𝔫 (@ℜ𝔦𝔠 𝔓𝔢𝔫𝔡𝔯𝔞𝔤𝔬𝔫)
A twister in Barking?
Climate Change has arrived in London — Punk#4992 (@Punk#4992)
Local police attempted to quell the excitement on Friday night, tweeting:
(2/2) In addition to the lightning strike, we have seen reports of a tornado but cannot confirm this. There are no… https://t.co/feTofHjb5S — Barking & Dagenham MPS (@Barking & Dagenham MPS)
Meanwhile Barking and Dagenham Council responded with:
⚠️ WEATHER UPDATE - 20:20 | We're aware of the severe weather damage in the Barking area and our Immediate Response… https://t.co/fIcVKpcSVg — Barking and Dagenham (@Barking and Dagenham)
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.
“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,” Box said.
Some places are likely to have seen more than 40mm of rainfall in an hour.
The forecaster 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.
⚠️ Yellow thunderstorm warning issued ⚠️
Slow-moving thunderstorms will give heavy downpours leading to some flood… https://t.co/mKzaAfAWJL — Met Office (@Met Office)
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, Box added.
Try telling that to the residents of Barking and Dagenham who have seen their houses damaged by the jaw-dropping conditions.