- auckland.scoop.co.nz - http://auckland.scoop.co.nz -

Tornado leaves 150 homes uninhabitable; 250 residents taken to air force base


Twitter photos by Kim Chisnall

Police have confirmed three people are dead and seven have been transferred to hospital after this afternoon’s tornado. Those affected were believed to be involved in the construction of a school at Hobsonville Point and/or were hit by a tree.

The highest gust of wind recorded this afternoon was 151 km/h at Snapper Rock, Albany. Western suburbs including New Lynn, Avondale and around the foothills of the Waitakere’s experienced rainfall rates of around 21mm within 10 mins this afternoon.

The Auckland Civil Defence Emergency Management Group says that about 150 homes are uninhabitable or without power at Whenuapai base and 70 more homes in the area have been evacuated. 250 residents affected have been taken to Whenuapai Air Force Base where they will be looked after, and Auckland Council welfare staff have also gone to assist.

Civil Defence is liaising with Whenuapai Airbase and will provide support as required.

There is widespread surface flooding on roads and motorways throughout Auckland and motorists are urged to take care or stay off the roads if possible. Auckland Council building inspectors are attending the worst affected areas.

Vector advises that Henderson, Greenhithe and Riverhead are still without power.

Auckland Airport is open but an earlier lightning strike meant some flights were diverted.

Trains are operating as normal. Ferry services are continuing but the 5.30pm service to West Harbour is to be replaced by a bus.

Bus services are disrupted to Herald Island route 093 and Hobsonville Point routes 092 and 093. Route 130 is suspended. Some other bus services may be delayed.

For transport updates: www.AT.co.nz
Information is updated at http://www.aucklandcivildefence.org.nz/Emergency-Status/

TVNZ: Aerial views show destruction [3]

Radio New Zealand reported [4] that one square kilometre in a subdivision in Hobsonville suffered the most extensive damage.

The NZ Herald confirms [5] that three people have been killed and at least seven have been admitted to hospital.

Stuff reports [6] that the tornado lasted for five minutes. It also reports that twenty fire trucks have dealt with eighty damaged properties.

At 2.45 this afternoon, Mayor Len Brown said: I am currently in the area of Hobsonville worst affected by the tornado assessing damage with the police.

Press Release – Hawkins
Hawkins Construction says there were fatalities and injuries suffered by a number of subcontractors at its Hobsonville School building site in West Auckland during this afternoon’s devastating tornado. Police will be releasing further information about the fatalities and injured once their investigations are complete.

Hawkins Construction Executive General Manager, Dan Ashby says the company’s immediate focus is on supporting the affected workers’ families, and its staff and subcontractors on site. Mr Ashby says Hawkins is also working to assist Police and other services on site.