Hainault ‘tornado’ made home a ‘war-zone’ say Belcher family

A family who had to be evacuated after a “tornado” wrecked their house have told how the freak winds turned their home into a “war zone”.

Schoolgirl Sophie Stewart, 11, and her mum Mandy Belcher, were made homeless after the storm ripped off their roof in The Lowe, Hainault, on Tuesday of last week.

The winds hit just after noon, seriously damaging 20 houses, smashing cars and flattening trees and a bus stop.

Her grandmother Carol Belcher, 66, was in the house at the time: “It was absolutely terrifying,” she said.

“At first there was this weird whistling noise and I looked out the window. It was raining so hard but I could see slates smashing through the fence and the iron table being thrown across the garden.

She added: “It was like a horrendous war zone. One minute the noise was deafening, but the next minute it was gone.”

Sophie said her grandmother screamed as the wind hit: “You could see the water going round in a circle outside. All you could hear was whistling and smashing tiles. I was so scared.”

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Later that afternoon, the house was declared unsafe and the family were evacuated. Sophie and her mother Mandy Belcher have been staying with friend Jessica Cassidy, 13, since then.

Best friend Jessica was also in the house at the time and photographed the damage for the Recorder, and we published her alarming eyewitness account last week.

Mandy Belcher says she now has “no idea” how long it will take before she can move her family back home, and says the damage will cost thousands of pounds.