Friday, July 06, 2007

Not in Kansas

Parts of New Zealand have been hit with tornados over the past couple days. Many people think that, as an island nation, New Zealand doesn’t get tornadoes, but it does.
Ordinarily, the tornadoes aren’t very severe. Sometimes they’re even called “mini-tornadoes” or “micro-bursts” because they’re pretty weak. But on Wednesday, Taranaki was hit with a stronger one that caused an estimated $1.5 million in damage. By NZ standards, that’s a pretty big deal.
Yesterday they region was hit with more tornadoes of varying sizes, causing an array of damage. The storms also knocked out power to 7,000 households. This is more unusual.
Tornadoes of the sort seen in America’s Midwest don’t happen in New Zealand—yet. With climate change, however, New Zealand, like the rest of the world, is experiencing more frequent and more severe storms and weather events (like “weather bombs”).
Still, this sort of thing happening is still odd enough to both notice and comment on. I wonder how much longer that will be the case.

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