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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 December 2006, 18:30 GMT
The eye of the storm
Lee Quinn
Lee Quinn and his son were stranded by the tornado
Up to 150 homes were damaged after a tornado unexpectedly ripped through the streets of Kensal Rise in north-west London.

Here, Lee Quinn describes how a routine trip to the dentist became something far more dramatic.

I had just got back from Kensal Rise where I was visiting my dentist with my son. We had parked in Dundonald Road at 11am when hailstones started to drop and the wind picked up. Suddenly the sky got darker and darker until it was black. I told my son we had better just wait for the rain to stop before we go into the surgery.

That's when we looked up into the sky and couldn't believe what we saw. There was what looked like leaves flying around in the air and an umbrella was being tossed around. We looked on in amazement when a garden swing crashed into the side of our car followed by a shower of roof tiles. A dustbin crashed down in front of us smashing the rear window of the vehicle in front.

Pieces of roof tile continued to fall down followed by sections of guttering. Our car was hit several times by the tiles and, although the car was damaged, we were only shaken. This all happened in 15 seconds max.

Our car was hit several times by roof tiles
Lee Quinn

After the the winds had passed, we got out of the car to see the whole street covered with roof tiles, bricks, dust bins and the garden swing. People started to run out of their houses and check on their neighbours. I spoke to a number of people who asked what had happened. We told them that we thought it was a hurricane.

One woman was carrying a baby, crying in her arms. She told me that she had only just got her little girl out of bed when all the rear windows were blown in near where the baby was sleeping.

Two builders came running out of a house, not knowing what had happened, and said they had left the front door open and the wind blew through the house, wrecking the inside. He also said that the owners were at work so he didn't know how he was going to explain what had happened to their home.

After a few more conversations with the local residents, we went into the dentist. This incident happened only 20 metres from the surgery and nobody inside knew it had happened. The dental nurse said she knew the wind was strong and saw leaves in the air, but she didn't realise they were roof tiles.

It was like a scene from a disaster movie
Lee Quinn

I find it quite amazing that, what we know now was a tornado, had just devastated a street and people were still working away obliviously. After my treatment I walked around the area and the full extent of the damage became obvious - cars were smashed, trees were snapped and houses were demolished. The streets were littered with broken roof tiles. It was like a scene from a disaster movie.

We chatted with the locals for a while and watched the fire brigade working feverishly to make sure people and property were safe. We then returned to our vehicle and simply drove away.

My hat goes off to the people of Kensal Rise. They have just gone through a devastating event, but they all are very cheerful, laughing and are helping each other to cope with the devastation to their houses.

Thankfully myself and my son escaped with no injuries and only a few people have been slightly hurt. A very eventful trip to the dentist is now over and you will be happy to know my teeth are fine, but I have now have been in the eye of a tornado.





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