Hobsonville-Whenuapai, Auckland, New Zealand, Dec 6 – The New Zealand city of Auckland was lashed today by a major storm that claimed the lives of three people after a tornado touched down in the suburbs of Hobsonville and Whenuapai.
Three people were killed and seven injured after the tornado struck around 1pm NZDT this afternoon. Power poles and trees were ripped out of the ground and houses extensively damaged, especially along the Hobsonville street of Wallingford Way, which saw every house in the street damaged in some form. The Upper Harbour Highway (SH18) was closed between the interchange with the Northwestern Motorway (SH16) and Tauhinu Road in Greenhithe for a time to clear debris from the roadway.
The Whenuapai Air Force Base recorded windspeeds of up to 180km/h during the height of the storm.
Hundreds will tonight be spending the night without power, and for the unfortunate victims of the tornado’s fury, a night at the air base.
Elsewhere in Auckland streets, houses, businesses and parks were flooded and power was out to several suburbs.
One Siroccan citizen was driving on the Greenhithe Bridge when the tornado struck just a few hundred metres away near Hobsonville Road. He said that the rain accompanying the storm was the worst he has ever seen.
Premier Daniel Anderson gave his condolences to the families of the bereaved and to the people of Hobsonville and Whenuapai a short time ago.
“A disaster of this magnitude is an awful thing to happen, and all Siroccans are united in expressing their heartfelt condolences to those who lost homes, belongings, and more importantly loved ones after today’s tornado. The Siroccan government is prepared to assist in any way it can in the clean-up.”
Anderson also confirmed that a Siroccan aid agency, to be known as the Department of International Development and Assistance, will be set up in the coming days to better manage aid operations in the future.
- Tornado: Three dead and hundreds homeless (stuff.co.nz)
- Tornado strikes Auckland (smh.com.au)
- Deadly Auckland tornado tears residents from homes – TVNZ (tvnz.co.nz)
- Storm brings death and destruction (nzherald.co.nz)