Police name three men killed by tornado; 635 homes without power

News from NZ Police
Police have released the names of the three men who died during the tornado which ripped through Whenuapai and Hobsonville yesterday. They were:

Tom Stowers, Massey resident, aged 32
Keith Langford, Tuakau resident, aged 58
Brendon Johnson, Massey resident, aged 32

Police and Civil Defence have now moved to a recovery phase in the aftermath of the tornado. Welfare support and reassurance to all affected residents is continuing. Police and Civil Defence have yet to decide on when the cordon in Hobsonville will be lifted.

Waitemata Police District Commander Superintendent Bill Searle says Civil Defence are working as quickly as possible to establish which houses in the effected area of Hobsonville are safe for their owners to return.

Sixty-five police officers were in suburban Hobsonville and at Whenuapai last night working collectively with other emergency services and agencies. A cordon was in place at the construction site where three workmen were killed at lunchtime.

There was a high police visibility in Hobsonville and Whenuapai overnight. Residents can have reassurance that everything is being done to protect their damaged homes and property.

Press Release – Auckland Council
The Ministry of Social Development has activated the Government helpline for people affected by yesterday’s tornado and weather event in Hobsonville and Whenuapai who require immediate, coordinated information about services and assistance. Anyone needing assistance can phone the helpline on 0800 77 9997.

BUILDING INSPECTIONS Yesterday 18 teams of building inspectors undertook 241 building assessments. Significant roofing damage was noted. Inspections will continue with building assessments today including 40 properties in Totara Rd and Clark Rd. Civil Defence has now received information on the status of the affected buildings from the building inspectors. At Whenuapai: 240 homes were assessed. At Hobsonville: 270 homes were assessed. â22 properties have been identified as having major damage. Multiple properties in both suburbs have minor damage.

STORMWATER Auckland Council’s stormwater team are continuing to follow up calls from the public.

ELECTRICITY Vector restored 700 customers overnight, leaving 635 without power. Locations without power are predominantly in the Scott Rd, Clark Rd, Buckley Ave, and Hobsonville Air Base areas along with Puriri, Totara and Waimarie roads. It is anticipated that the Waimarie Rd and Totara Rd areas will be affected for an extended period of time. Power to Herald Island has been restored.

SECURITY NZ Defence Force is continuing to provide assistance to Police with security and cordons of the affected area. A decision on public access to the cordoned area will be made later this morning.

WELFARE Approximately 230 Defence Force personnel were provided alternative accommodation by NZ Defence. Two recovery centres opened at 10.00am at Massey Leisure Centre and Victory Church, managed by Auckland Council Civil Defence staff with personnel from Housing NZ, Salvation Army, Work and Income, Child Youth and Family and Victim Support. 31 affected people who registered at Whenuapai last night are being processed. Auckland Council Animal Control have accommodated a number of companion animals overnight. Harcourts rental properties division is assisting with tenants whose houses are uninhabitable. The Ministry of Social Development has asked to deploy roving teams with Civil Defence personnel to check on houses where residents remain but may need assistance.

Massey Leisure Centre recovery centre will re-open at 10:00am on Saturday 8 December. Victory Church Recovery Centre is closed and will not re-open. Residents requiring welfare assistance are being asked to report to the Wiseley Road and Clark Street Incident Control Point (ICP). Welfare staff there will arrange accommodation assistance.

ANIMAL WELFARE. Council is looking after misplaced animals at its West Auckland Animal Shelter, located at 48 The Concourse. There are currently five dogs and two cats. Once the cordon is lifted, animal welfare staff will assist owners with finding any missing animals left behind when they were evacuated. Owners of displaced pets are encouraged to contact us to log their pet as missing by calling 09 301 0101. Our shelter is taking good care of affected pets until they can be reunited with their owners.

WEATHER UPDATE The heavy showers affecting Auckland this morning are expected to increase during today. We can expect:
1. Heavy rain and possible hail in showers.
2. Wind gusts within showers of up to 100km/h
3. A low risk of thunderstorms forming.
4. Shower activity will increase during the day with most intense rainfall and activity in the evening.

What to do as storms approach:
Take shelter, preferably indoors away from windows;
Avoid sheltering under trees, if outside;
Move cars under cover or away from trees;
Secure any loose objects around your property;
Check that drains and gutters are clear;
Be ready to slow down or stop, if driving.

During and after the storm, you should also:
Beware of fallen trees and power lines;
Avoid streams and drains as you may be swept away in flash flooding.

Earlier report: 250 people taken to Whenuapai base