Waikanae residents clean up tornado mess
Sun, 10 Jul 2011 6:10p.m.
By Emma Jolliff
Residents in the path of yesterday's powerful tornado have spent the day cleaning up.
The tornado swept through Waikanae on the Kapiti Coast, north of Wellington, and left a trail of destruction.
George Mason is grateful he was not in the car when the tornado hit, uprooting trees within seconds.
But he was in a caravan, as was his daughter, Natalie. A tree hit the caravan and the roof caved in on top of her.
“She felt at first like she was completely trapped and couldn't move, but I think in the panic of the situation she managed to fight her way out.”
She was taken to hospital last night but is recovering at home today.
“It was just an instantaneous bang when all the trees came down, and I think they all came down at once,” says Mr Mason.
The owner of this property says the whole house shifted on its foundations before the trees hit.
Clive Williams thought he could hear his roof lifting off, but the noise was coming from his neighbour's shed, which was flying towards his house.
“We rushed to save some pot plants outside but got blown back in by the tornado, which brought the neighbour's shed in through the bedroom window.”
Residents describe hailstones the size of marbles, then an eerie silence just before it hit.
The tornado came ashore at Peka Peka beach, destroying buildings as it travelled across farmland and over the motorway. While it did not last for long it caused the most devastation on Huia Street.
On the other side of the motorway, outbuildings were flattened by the twister.
Even a full 40,000 litre water tank was lifted up as it passed through.
Linesmen were today working to ensure the safety of power lines. Now it is up to residents and insurers to face the clean up.
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