What to do when a tornado strikes

Trees are snapped and powerlines down after a tornado ripped through the Auckland suburb of Hobsonville. Photo / Tammy Cowan
Trees are snapped and powerlines down after a tornado ripped through the Auckland suburb of Hobsonville. Photo / Tammy Cowan

The best place to be when a tornado hits is a closet, and whatever you do - stay inside.

Yesterday's tornado in West Auckland raised a few questions about the safest course of action, but a consensus from weather and emergency authorities was to stay inside and away from windows.

New Zealand Civil Defence was quick to issue advice on how to keep safe.

For people at home, that was to take shelter indoors and away from windows. Securing loose objects around the property and checking that drains and gutters were clear was also recommended for those who had time.

WeatherWatch head analyst Philip Duncan agreed.

"If you do see a tornado forming, the best thing you can do is get into a small room without window, like a closet, wardrobe, or your toilet. Get down on the ground and cover your head," he said.

"It's a myth to go around your house, opening windows on the sheltered side.

Don't do that. You've got to get shelter as quickly as possible, and stay indoors while you can hear thunder."

Drivers were warned to stay away from trees and be ready to slow down or stop completely.

Now that the storm has passed, it's crucial to look out for fallen trees and power lines as many of these could still be live, Civil Defence warns.

Streams and drains are another thing to look out for as "you could be swept away in flash flooding".

- nzherald.co.nz

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