Tornado rips through Hokitika

04:18, Mar 31 2013
Tornado in Hokitika, March 31, 2013
Damage to a hotel on the main street of Hokitika/
Tornado in Hokitika, March 31, 2013
The Railway Hotel suffered damage in today's tornado.
Tornado in Hokitika, March 31, 2013
The view looking down onto the hotel's damaged roof.
Tornado in Hokitika, March 31, 2013
Damage to the Railway Hotel.
Tornado in Hokitika, March 31, 2013
Fire fighters inspect the damage to the Railway Hotel.
Tornado in Hokitika, March 31, 2013
Emergency services in Hokitika following the tornado.
Tornado in Hokitika, March 31, 2013
Roofing iron on the pavement in Hokitika.

A tornado that swept through Hokitika's central business district ripping iron from roofs, ''miraculously'' injured no-one.

Police and the Fire Service were called to Weld St at 12.32pm after a twister ripped through the West Coast town.

Fire Service southern communications shift manager Andrew Norris said roofing iron had come off the Railway Hotel and Westland District Council buildings.

The service put tarpaulins on the roofs to protect the two buildings, he said.

It appeared the damage had been isolated to the two buildings.

A St John Ambulance spokesman said there were no reported injuries, which he described as "miraculous".

Met Service severe weather forecaster Erick Brenstrum said it appeared the tornado was short-lived and at the lower end of the scale.

He said the West Coast had more tornadoes than anywhere else in New Zealand, but a number went unnoticed because they made landfall in areas without houses or people.

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