No wind, clear skies - then tornado hits

By Amelia Wade

Minutes before a small tornado tore through Raglan, there was almost no wind and clear skies.

"There was a clap of thunder and lightning and then that was it - the winds were up and there was debris flying everywhere," Roy Devlyn said.

Mr Devlyn was in a boat being towed back from the Raglan Holiday Park when the skies darkened and the tornado struck.

He considers himself lucky because he and his son had forgotten the boat keys so were going home to get them - had they remembered them, they would have been on the water when it hit.

"We would have been picked up into the air, for sure," he said.

Mr Devlyn, 75, said he'd never seen anything like it, even during his nine years in the Navy.

"It just came out of nowhere. It was calm just before and it was calm after. The place is a bit of a mess now."

Willie Barlow's home was the worst hit - his chimney was torn down, about four windows shattered and the trees "massacred".

He was looking after his 6-year-old grandson, Lucas, when the tornado hit.

About 11.30am he saw the swing set in the back yard fly past the window. Lucas began crying.

"I felt bad for him, he didn't know what was going on," he said.

Mr Barlow, 70, is still able to live at his house and yesterday afternoon whanau gathered to help clear up.

Raglan police constable Jeremy Holmes said the tornado caused damage over a two-block radius.

Firefighters had told him that some outdoor furniture had also blown on to the roof of a house, and that a car was trapped under a tree.

Emergency services had three calls about the tornado from Taipari and Tahuna Avenues around midday. No one was injured.

- NZ Herald

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