Tornado hits Auckland

Last updated 19:06 11/09/2011
Avondale tornado
IAN STEWARD/Auckland Now

DAMAGED: A garage is inspected by fire services after a tornado hit the suburb.

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Up to a dozen homes were reportedly damaged when a tornado tore through the west Auckland suburbs of Avondale and Te Atatu.

The fire service received reports of a tornado about 1pm today as heavy rains, strong winds and lightning struck the region.

The tornado caused damage to up to a dozen homes across an area about 1km wide, Radio New Zealand reported.

Northern communications shift manager Jarron Phillips says Wairau Ave sustained the most damage and was closed.

One house was hit by lightning, Phillips confirmed. Powerlines had fallen onto other homes in the area.

Several homes and blocks of flats were damaged, Phillips said.

There have been no reports of injuries.

Senior station officer for Avondale fire Esitone Pauga said people were leaving a flea market in the area at the time the tornado hit.

Pauga said they were keeping people out of affected homes for safety reasons.

Power was still on in the area and residents were not too frightened, Pauga said.

Mark Hackett, who moved to Auckland from Christchurch to escape the earthquakes, said his family's garage was destroyed but luckily his family was safe.

Fire services said the tornado also hit the Ash St area.

Six fire engines in total attended Ash St and Wairau Ave.

There were no reports of injuries.

MetService issued a moderate thunderstorm warning for the upper North Island region, including Auckland, this morning, with gusts of up to 100km/h, small hail and localised heavy rain forecast.

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- Auckland Now

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