Small Tornadoes in the North Island

On Monday evening there were two small tornadoes in New Zealand. One tornado hit the coastal city of New Plymouth, taking the roofs off several houses, knocking down trees and breaking car windscreens. The other tornado damaged a building in a camping ground in the resort town of Ohope. In both incidents, nobody was injured.

Even though the tornadoes were very impressive and wreaked violent damage, on the Fujita scale, where the biggest tornado would be a five, these would be estimated to score a one. This is typical of New Zealand tornadoes; the biggest tornadoes in New Zealand would not be bigger than a three on the Fujita Scale, according to April Clark, from the MetService, New Zealand’s main weather forecaster.

Tornados are rare in New Zealand and tend to coincide with thunder storms. The places which most commonly experience small tornadoes are Auckland and New Plymouth.