Two tornadoes ripped through the cities of Auckland and Papamoa in New Zealand's North Island on Saturday, June 27, 2020, causing major structural damage. The storms tore roofs off homes, knocked trees and power lines, and blew away debris.
The first tornado struck South Auckland's East Tamaki, damaging multiple buildings and leaving 'major structural damage' in the city, the Fire and Emergency said.
"We've got about 10 calls in the area, just going from one job to the other, assessing the damage," said spokesperson Craig Dally.
"[The calls are] mainly to roofs lifted and a few trees down, damage to industrial buildings in the area," Dally added, urging residents to remain indoors.
One woman was interrupted while she was giving birth when debris broke the windows of the ambulance she was in.
Allens Road, where an entire wall was ripped off the Elite Bathroomware Showroom, sustained damage worth thousands of dollars, with furniture, metal sheeting and wood scattered across the car park. Electrical equipment was reportedly sucked out by strong winds.
The second tornado hit North Island, this time in Papamoa City. Eyewitnesses said they saw roof tiles, gutters, roadwork signs, and TV discs flying through the air, as well as a trampoline being swept away. One resident said the storm was snapping trees "like toothpicks".
"I live right on the edge of town so I watched the whole thing tear through the farm. The neighbor's playground is gone, their fence is gone, it's left quite a trail in its wake," said local man Gregg Conning.
"I first spotted a big black tramp floating through the air and just as I was thinking 'what the heck, is that a tramp?' a second tramp flew past."
One of the affected families said they feel lucky to be alive after the tornado hit their home.
Dad Tudman, who was out when the storm happened, arrived home to find "everything was destroyed, absolutely everything."
Tudman said his daughter Eden called from their Dairy Flat home in north Auckland. "She was screaming."
"I thought there was an intruder in the home because she was incomprehensible," he added. He rushed home but wires from a power tower had been knocked across the property's front gate, and Tudman said he almost drove straight into them and "nearly got nailed".
"If I was in my room [at the time], I would have been dead because my room is in pieces."
Featured image credit: Geoff Mackley