Tornado tears through Foxton caravan site, rips off hall roof

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A tornado has ripped through a Foxton Beach caravan park during a night of thunderstorms and deafening rain.

It hit the Manawatu Caravan Club just after 3am on Tuesday, flattening fences and ripping roofs of a hall and a campervan site.

Camp supervisor Neil Anderson said he did not hear the tornado.

“We had a very rough night here, thunderstorms and wind and all the rest of it. It’s come through one fence and flattened it, ripped a roof off an awning on the side of a van and ploughed it through the side of our hall.

“It’s been quite amazing how it has only picked out a few bits and pieces.”

Anderson was amazed at the power and speed of the tornado.

“Cleaning up this morning we found debris probably 300 to 400 metres away from where it had started from.”

The tornado had hit one of the ground’s permanent vans, though it had not been occupied at the time.

“The best thing was there was no one hurt. Luckily enough the owners weren’t in it at the time.”

Insurance assessors and builders had been on site on Tuesday.

Ava-Jane Harris lives at the camp and estimated they were less than 100m away from the course of the tornado.

“We didn’t hear it, the rain was heavy – it was deafeningly heavy. On top of that there was a thunderstorm.

“About 3am we got a phone call from our friends who live just along from us saying there had been a tornado.”

She and her husband had seen what appeared to be a tornado out at sea yesterday.

MetService forecaster Hordur Thordarson said they could not confirm if it was a tornado, as it could have been a strong wind gust.

“There is a tendency to assume a tornado if there is damage due to wind… But a tornado could have been the case, I wouldn’t discount it.”

A tornado was caused by cold air coming in on top of warm air. Cold air was heavier and would make the atmosphere unstable as it tried to overturn.

Last updated 21:27, May 24 2016

Picture: Damage to the hall and a campervan at the Manawatu Caravan Club in Foxton Beach as the result of a tornado that occurred early on Tuesday morning—AVA-JANE HARRIS

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Kyrie Wagner

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