Tornado sweeps through Warkworth

Last updated 15:05 11/05/2009

ROOF OFF: Warkworth firefighters remove tiles from the damaged roof on Westpark Glen.

TWISTER: A Rodney Times reader snapped this photo of the Warkworth tornado using a cellphone camera.

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A mini-tornado ripped through Warkworth's northern end about 1pm yesterday.

Residents in a house on Westpark Glen escaped unharmed after the tornado pulled the roof off their rented home, scattering the tiles in their backyard and puncturing holes through the ceiling.

"I heard it coming and once it was on us I thought it was a big gust of wind," says Murray Dunn. "I could see things being thrown around outside and the manhole inside was lifting up. It lasted about 30 seconds."

Warkworth firefighters quickly removed a number of tiles to stop them falling through the ceiling. A roofing contractor is repairing the damage.

Resident Raewyn Hudson says the tornado came from the northwest and went southeast down the no exit road. It knocked over TV aerials, birdbaths, uprooted small trees and broke branches.

"The rain was horizontal," she says. "It twisted and I thought 'what's happening'. It was scary."

Another neighbour was looking for his greenhouse roof.

A caravan on Melwood Dr tipped on to its side but was righted by firefighters.

The tornado lost momentum as it passed over the town's retail area and headed towards Snells Beach.

The Rodney District Council says power was cut to the town for about 10 minutes.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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