The tornado, with winds estimated to be between 180 and 200 kph, caused extensive damage, several injuries and one death. At our house, we had nothing more than very heavy rain (with some sunshine, no less) and the power flicked for a moment (to be clear, we’re fine and had no damage).
Once again, I heard about this breaking news first on Twitter. Well, apart from the storm outside, of course.
Tornadoes are very unusual in New Zealand, and if they happen damage is usually pretty minor. We don’t get the big F4 tornadoes that my homeland does. Part of the reason, I’ve been told, is that New Zealand doesn’t have much land mass, and so, storms can’t intensify as they can when crossing a continent. However, rising ocean temperatures and increased moisture in the atmosphere due to climate change may make severe storms with tornadoes more likely. As this storm shows, even a small tornado can be dangerous, and even deadly.
This is a threat I can understand and relate to, having grown up in the Midwest of the US. If it had been me near that tornado, I wouldn’t have been filming it but looking for cover. You can take the boy out of the Midwest, but…
The video below is the second one I saw. There's also a somewhat more dramatic video elsewhere. Photos can be seen here.