A man cheated potential death when sheets of iron came blowing down a valley as a tornado ripped through Taranaki on Friday afternoon.

Taranaki man Mike Green was inside his workshop when he heard the door rattle with gusts of wind pounding the building.

Curious about what was happening, Green looked through the window when he witnessed a sheet of iron smash into a resident's ute.

"I was in the workshop and heard the tornado coming," he told the Herald.

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The doors were rattling and shaking, it looked like they were going to get blown in.

"I turned out the window and saw the eye going straight past. I raced outside when I realised what was happening.

"Some of the roofing iron from Metro Fires 600m down the road came blowing past with one destroying my wing mirror on my car."

Green ran outside to access the damage and saw his wing mirror had been completely smashed by the flying iron sheet.

But it wasn't until he looked inside another resident's ute that he realised a man was inches away from serious injury.

"The ute that was in front of me, there was a guy in there sheltering from the rain. He looked in his rear view mirror and saw the eye of the tornado coming from behind and saw the iron coming towards us.

"He ducked down in his vehicle because he thought he was going to lose his head, and the iron bounced off my wing mirror and smashed into the back of his ute. He thought that was it, he was s****ing himself."

A man has cheated potential death when sheets of iron came blowing down the valley as a tornado ripped through Taranaki on Friday afternoon. Photo / Supplied
A man has cheated potential death when sheets of iron came blowing down the valley as a tornado ripped through Taranaki on Friday afternoon. Photo / Supplied

Two buildings were damaged when the tornado struck on Oropuriri Rd in New Plymouth's northeast.

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Pioneer Manufacturing Ltd, also known as Metro Fires, was one of the worst hit, losing its roof and a large number of iron sheets.

"Metro Fires was one of the worst damaged, I'd say the lost about 25-30 sheets of iron, with some of it blowing hundreds of metres away and up the valley, Green told the Herald.

Heard and seen a roof getting ripped off wholy

Posted by Reece Taylor on Thursday, 11 July 2019

A fire service spokesman said they received a call from one business who said a tornado had gone through it and a neighbouring building about 40 minutes earlier.

"It was very minor damage to the buildings," the fire spokesman said.

Roofing iron had been ripped off a building's roof and dumped in a car park.

Assistance from the fire brigade was not needed and no other properties appeared to have been affected, he said.

A resident also posted online saying the tornado had moved the trampoline, left a hole in the wall and damaged trees.