Major damage after two tornadoes rip through North Island, New Zealand

A large waterspout formed in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand on August 20, 2018, and hit the Ohope Beach just after 17:30 NZST, damaging at least six properties. Ohope is 6 km (3.7 miles) east of Whakatane, North Island. At the same time, on the other side of North Island, another damaging tornado hit New Plymouth.

One of Ohope residents said he saw a massive waterspout come out of nowhere. “We all ran downstairs and hid in the bathroom,” he told 1 NEWS. “I’ve never seen anything like that in my life.”

He said he watched the waterspout for five minutes before it picked up speed and approached the land.

At least six properties were damaged, with their rooves torn off and windows smashed, but there are no reports of injuries.

The tornado caused significant damage to two properties and moderate to further four.

At the same time, another tornado touched down on Belt Road in New Plymouth, on the other side of North Island, damaging a number of properties.

“There was a big rumble and everything went black,” an eyewitness told 1 NEWS. “It got a bit scary as it got closer but at first thought, I might as well get a video.”

While no one was injured, 11 homes suffered major damage and 20 minor, a spokesperson for Fire Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) said.

FENZ added it attended 37 tornado-related incidents.

1 712 homes around Moturoa were left without power after the area was struck by lightning and heavy rain.

Featured image credit: 1NEWS

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