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LONDON, England (CNN) -- A tornado hit a residential area of London on Thursday, injuring at least six people, according to ambulance service staff.
Police were alerted to the tornado in north-west London at around 11 a.m., a Scotland Yard spokeswoman said.
One man was taken to hospital suffering from serious head injuries, and five people were treated at the scene for minor injuries and shock.
The storm, with winds of around 150 mph (240 kph), ripped roofs off some homes, tore down walls and trees, and left streets strewn with debris. One car was buried under fallen bricks, video footage from the scene showed. (See images of the destruction)
"I could see a huge cloud rolling up the street, making this tremendous sound," resident Daniel Bidgood told the BBC. "I went to try to take a picture of it but a shower of debris smashed all the windows of my house."
Another eyewitness, Sally Johnson, said she thought she was going to die. "All the cars and the windows, everything (was) smashed in," she told Sky. "There's debris everywhere, you can hardly walk."
"It was like some sort of cyclone," said resident Tim Klotz.
"I looked up through a skylight and debris was falling through the air. I heard what seemed like large, clay dominoes falling, which I think were roof tiles," Klotz said.
Local authorities said several houses may have to be demolished due to damage caused by the tornado.
Several hundred people were expected to spend a night in emergency accommodation as workers tried to make buildings safe.
Experts say that while Britain experiences more than 30 tornadoes a year, it is rare for them to cause damage on the scale seen in London on Thursday.
Local weather reports said warmer than normal temperatures this fall contributed to formation of the tornado.
Emergency services stand near damage caused by the tornado.