Greymouth tornado clean-up under way

SARAH JANE O'CONNOR
Last updated 15:01 03/08/2014

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Residents of a Greymouth suburb were once again left cleaning up this morning, after a small tornado tore roofs off and uprooted trees.

Lois Walton was sitting in her Doyle St property's living room in the suburb of Blaketown when she "heard it coming". She dashed into the hallway while the winds broke her living room and bedroom windows.

Gouges were visible above the couch where glass had blown into the room, right above where Walton had just been sitting.

"If I hadn't have moved I'd be dead."

Walton has lived in Blaketown since 1971 and said she thought "the weather pattern's changing," bringing strong winds more frequently.

"But I'm staying put," she said. "I love where I live."

Across the road, Marcia Pere's Coakley St house lost its roof in the high winds. She was inside with her partner, Anthony Jurgens, her daughter and niece when Jurgens "heard a rumble" and yelled to everyone to get in the hallway.

"There was no warning," Pere said. "Just the noise."

Fire fighters went to the property last night and made sure the fire was out and the electricity turned off. But Pere and her family arrived back at the house this morning to find the roof was off and water had been let in all night.

Jurgens said a council worker had contacted him this morning to say that they needed to put a tarp on the roof, but offered no assistance.

Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn arrived after a call from The Press and sourced a tarp for the roof. He then scaled the roof to help put the tarp on.

At another Doyle St property Cheri Egan and her partner were able to call builder friends last night to put a tarp on their A-frame house.

But Egan was optimistic. "We're alive. I didn't think we were going to be."

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- The Press

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