Earth Watch Report  –  Tornado



February 26 2014 06:35 PM Tornado New Zealand South Island, [North Canterbury] Damage level Details



Tornado in New Zealand on Wednesday, 26 February, 2014 at 18:35 (06:35 PM) UTC.

A tornado has ripped its way through North Canterbury in New Zealand as rough weather and lightning caused extensive damage. The Civil Defence has arrived at the scene to inspect the damaged properties. According to fire service shift manager Andrew Norris, a group of homes in Amberley have been heavily damaged. The town is 50km north of Christchurch. Based on fire service reports, strong winds from the tornado had lifted the tiles off roofs of homes near the Burnham Military Camp. Southern Fire Communications Shift Manager Karl Patterson said he received reports of one house losing an entire roof. The tornado, barreling its way through South Island, also knocked down trees and caused power poles to catch fire. Mr Patterson said the fire service put out fires in Halsquell Quarry which were caused by lightning. Despite the damages to some homes and power lines, no casualties or injuries were reported. The clean-up continues in tornado-damaged areas, although 30 homes reported having no electricity by the afternoon of Feb 24. A resident from Amberley, Donna Graham, told Radio New Zealand that she and her husband, Geoff, saw the tornado form from hanging black clouds and realised the twister was moving straight to her house. She and her husband began running away from the house. They could hear the noises made by the tornado as it moved. The couple came out when they noticed they could not hear the tornado anymore. Civil Defence inspector Kerry Walsh said the damage caused by the tornado was worse than he expected. He said the clean-up was doing well. South Island’s lines company Mainpower remarked that some of the power poles had to be replaced before electricity will be restored to homes. Aside from the tornado in Amberley, a smaller tornado was spotted in Leeston and was captured on video by “stormchaser” Stephen Burrows. Mr Burrows said the smaller tornado was approximately 100 metres wide but looked weaker in comparison to the one in Amberley. The tornadoes were caused by a severe thunderstorm in parts of Canterbury. The MetService has warned residents in the area to prepare for a storm with torrential rain and large hail. According to weather authorities, the storm had formed near the coast of Timaru and made its way to Christchurch. The storm was classified as a “supercell” because it caused large hailstones and small tornadoes.



The New Zealand Herald


Tornado strikes homes as storm lashes town

By Ben Irwin

A damaged building on a plant farm near Amberley, north Canterbury. Photo / Martin Hunter

A damaged building on a plant farm near Amberley, north Canterbury. Photo / Martin Hunter

Rough weather, lightning, and reports of a tornado caused extensive damage in North Canterbury last night.


Fire service shift manager Andrew Norris said a “cluster of houses” in Amberley, 50km north of Christchurch, had been badly damaged about 6.30pm.

Southern fire communications shift manager Karl Patterson said the strong winds lifted tiles off roofs near the Burnham Military Camp area and three houses in Amberley, 50km north of Christchurch, were also affected.

“One house completely lost its roof. Another house had extensive roof damage [and] windows blown in.”

The weather also caused power pole fires and trees to be knocked down,” Mr Patterson said.

“Apparently a tornado of some description sort of went through just near the coast – it caused a little bit of damage, but we did a check of all the houses in the area and they were ok.

“We had a couple of fires started by lightning, we had a fire in Halswell Quarry, out the south-west side of town.

“Also, in Little River we had a tree catch on fire in the middle of a tree plantation of some description.”

There were no reports of injuries, Mr Patterson said.


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