Lifestyle & Belief

Freak storm described as 'tornado' hits Auckland, New Zealand, killing 3


Uprooted trees and storm debri are scattered around the Auckand suburb of Hobsonville in the aftermath of a tornado that struck on December 6, 2012 in Auckland, New Zealand.


Phil Walter

A freak storm described as a tornado has his Auckland, New Zealand's biggest city, killing three people and leaving at least three missing, according to reports.

According to the Fairfax media, a further seven people were being treated for injuries.

The storm struck just before 1:00 p.m. local time in suburban Hobsonville, toppling trees, ripping roofs from houses and sending debris flying.

Agence France-Presse reported two deaths occurred when a concrete slab landed on a truck, while the New Zealand Herald said police sources had confirmed three deaths.

The Herald cited Police Superintendent Bill Searle as saying a series of tornadoes had passed through Hobsonville, and that the forecast was for more bad weather in the area, with residents advised to stay inside for the next couple of hours.

Fairfax  cited a witness as saying the roof had been ripped from at least one house, while several trees were uprooted.

It quoted Brendan Muir as saying he was sitting in a pick-up truck when the tornado hit.

"It was just mayhem. I had to put my seat belt on, I thought it was going to flip."

Trees "that looked like a plane had crashed into them," he added.

Construction worker Sam Nuthall told Radio New Zealand that he saw debris flying through the air.

"You couldn't see it coming ... there was debris flying everywhere, steel getting thrown around. I've never been in weather like that before."

New Zealand is located on a major fault line and used to earthquakes, but not known for its tornados.

Fairfax cited New Zealand MetService spokesman Daniel Corbett as saying conditions were right for small tornados to develop.