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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 December 2006, 16:20 GMT
Tornado was like 'Wizard of Oz'
Destruction caused by tornado

Thunder, lightning, skies turning black, being bombarded by bricks and feeling like they were in The Wizard of Oz... many people in north-west London were shocked to find themselves in the middle of a tornado on Thursday.

Kensal Rise residents spoke of being plunged into darkness, some saying it was so thick they thought they were trapped in smoke from a fire.

But seconds later the gloom lifted to reveal the damage.

"It literally was The Wizard of Oz," a shopkeeper, identified only as Amanda, said.

"It was just sucking things up into it. There were tiles. There were bits of wood. There were trees."

'Shrieking'

Actress Maya Sendall said she was "absolutely shrieking with shock" on the telephone as the tornado neared her home.

She said: "It sounded like a train going by and it shook the house. I saw the rubbish bin going by and my hedge flattened by about two or three feet.

There was a thunder clap and it felt like the house was falling in on us
Julia Haughton

"I did not hear too much of the crashing because the sound of the wind was astonishing."

Student Julia Haughton, 22, who heard the tornado, said: "There was a thunder clap and it felt like the house was falling in on us. It was really frightening.

"My boyfriend ran out just as it had gone through our back yard and pulled down our neighbour's tree. When I came out, all the windows were smashed."

'Jetliner' sound

Local resident Daniel Bidgood told BBC London 94.9FM: "I was in my living room and I heard a big crack of lightning and thunder, then as I went to the window I heard a sound which was like standing behind a jetliner.

"I could see a huge cloud rolling up the street, making this tremendous sound. I went to try to take a picture of it but a shower of debris smashed all the windows of my house."

Colin Brewer, who lives in nearby Trevelyan Gardens, saw "a swirl starting to form" and then "clumps of all sorts of things flying into the air".

He had seen trees collapse in the road and people being hit on the head by flying objects.

Kevin O'Leary, 56, said: "When the hailstones started coming down I told everyone to get in the lorry and as we were doing that I heard this great roar and almighty bang.

I work on climate change at Greenpeace and here was evidence of it on my own doorstep
Frank Hewetson

"Then we got bombarded with bricks and God knows what."

Frank Hewetson, a Greenpeace logistics coordinator, was buffeted by the tornado as he cycled near his home in Chevening Road.

He said: "The sky was dark, I heard a noise like a jet engine and then I saw this column of debris.

"There was debris flying around and I was lucky not to be hit.

"I work on climate change at Greenpeace and here was evidence of it on my own doorstep.

"Some people will say it's not climate change, but I don't think we've had too many twisters in Kensal Rise."




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