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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 July 2007, 19:14 GMT 20:14 UK
Freak storm batters south London
Storm clouds over London
Eyewitnesses said it was like being in the eye of a tornado
Parts of south London were hit by flash floods following a massive storm that swept across the South East.

The storm broke out at about 1700 BST on Tuesday and lasted about 20 minutes.

Eyewitnesses reported seeing the sky suddenly turn dark before the torrential downpour of rain and hailstones began.

Emergency services were indundated with calls after several areas including South Wimbledon, Putney, Clapham and Brixton were hit.

It was one of the biggest storms I've ever seen in my life
Simon Ranshaw, Fulham

The weather caused travel chaos and delays for commuters as roads in south London struggled with the heavy rain.

Olivia Young was in Battersea when she saw the storm developing.

"We had lots of thunder and then the hail began," she said.

"They were really large pieces of hail the size of 20 pence pieces which tore through the sky, ripping leaves from the trees and flowers from plants. I have never seen anything like it."

Simon Ranshaw, in Fulham said: "It was one of the biggest storms I've ever seen in my life. In fact I thought a tornado was about to touch down."

BBC London's weatherman Peter Cockroft said that though it was more normal for this type of weather to happen later in the summer, it was not that unusual for it to happen now.

"The idea of storms, heavy rain, hailstone and thunder being linked to a particular time of the year is really a myth," he said.

Six hurt as tornado hits London
07 Dec 06 |  London

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