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'Tornado' damages cars and homes

A suspected tornado struck part of the country today, damaging cars and homes "like a scene from the Wizard of Oz," firefighters have said.

London Fire Brigade said a garage collapsed and roof tiles were blown off some properties following "severe" weather in Harrow, north west London, but no one was hurt.

Fire crews were called to Grafton Road shortly before 1.15pm after t he garage, which was attached to a house, collapsed and cars in nearby roads suffered minor damage.

Watch manager Mark Ritson, who was at the scene, said: "The weather was quite severe leading up to it. It was sunny but then the sky went black, there was thunder and lightning, hailstones and strong winds. By the time we turned up to the address it was blue sky and sunny again.

"The tornado whizzed through the area, some roof tiles were blown off and caused minor damage to properties and cars in nearby roads but fortunately nobody was injured."

London Fire Brigade tweeted: "We believe that a mini tornado has levelled a single storey garage & damaged cars on Grafton Road in #Harrow. Thankfully no one injured.

"Like a scene from the Wizard of Oz. Firefighters say the sky in #Harrow went black followed by thunder & lightening, hailstones & a tornado."

A fire engine from Harrow fire station and other specialist vehicles attended the incident.

Firefighters are preparing for more stormy weather in the capital, with the Met Office predicting heavy rain and gusts of up to 60mph tomorrow evening.

London Fire Brigade has urged residents to ensure loose objects such as garden furniture and items on balconies are secure. Crews are on standby to help in the event of structural damage or accidents caused by the weather.

Assistant Commissioner Tim Cutbill, London Fire Brigade's head of operational resilience, said: " London firefighters are fully trained and available to help anyone who might be affected by the weather. We are on hand should any buildings, hoardings, or scaffolding be left in a precarious position in the high winds posing a risk to life."

Harrow councillor Varsha Parmar said: " In addition to this garage collapsing, five trees have been blown over in the borough and we currently have teams on site making these safe and clearing the road ways."

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