Rotorua has been hit by a tornado.
The Fire Service told The Daily Post a small tornado went through Sunnex Rd at Kaharoa/Hamurana at 3.20pm today.
40 children understood to be from Mokoia Intermediate and 13 adults were at a horse riding class and were evacuated to a property on Sunnex Rd to make sure they were safe.
Some of the properties on Sunnex Rd were also evacuated.
Sunnex Rd is off Central Rd, which is off SH36.
Sunnex Rd resident Anne Bannan described the tornado as very loud and fierce.
"It was sort of like something banging against the house. It was so loud and fierce. I couldn't hear a thing. I couldn't see the bottom of the hill. The rain was so heavy. It was just blocking everything out. It was really scary," she told The Daily Post.
She said she had heard that a worker at a nearby property was in a light truck which was "twirled around" in the tornado.
She said the power lines were down in water and the road was completely blocked.
"The fire brigade is at the end of the road keeping a watch."
She said at 5.30pm they had been without power for about two hours
One reader posted on our Facebook page: "We had a tornado in Hamurana - trampoline in the trees, trees down everywhere, part of the skylight ripped off."
A Rotorua man who lives on Tauranga Direct Rd said a tornado ripped through Hamurana, caused power outages, brought trees down threw a trampoline across the state highway.
The man, who didn't want to be identified, said they were left without power about 1.30pm and it only came back on shortly before 5pm.
He said the tornado hit "all over Hamurana".
"It's been hard out, it's only just stopped now," the man said.
He said trees had come down all along the area and the trampoline, which was in his backyard, had been lifted over a 2 metre hedge and "blown across a state highway".