Tornado Hits London

December 8, 2006

A freak tornado struck a section of northwest London on Thursday morning, Dec. 7, tearing the roofs off and causing other damage to as many as 150 homes, wrecking a number of cars and leaving six people injured. Fortunately there were no deaths.

News reports indicated that 24 families have been given temporary accommodations, as their homes are presently so badly damaged that they cannot return to them. An as yet undetermined number of homes are beyond repair and will have to be demolished.

While tornadoes are usually associated with the Southern and Midwestern U.S., the powerful storms – this one packed winds estimated in excess of 100 mph (160 kph) – can occur anywhere that thunderstorm conditions form. According to the BBC, an average of 50 tornadoes strike the country annually, but few are violent enough to cause substantial damage.

This one, however, will be costly. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) gave preliminary estimates of several million pounds (up to $5 million).

The ABI assured tornado victims that their losses would be covered. “Damage caused to homes and any businesses will be covered by buildings insurance,” said the bulletin. “Most household policies will cover the cost of alternative accommodation (up to policy limit) if you need to move out of your home while repairs are carried out. Damage to motor vehicles will be covered under comprehensive motor insurance.”

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