Auckland residents are surveying the “scary scenes” in parts of eastern suburbs that were hit by a tornado last night.
The tornado struck around 9.30pm and caused roofs to lift off of homes and toppled trees.
Manpreet Braar, who lives on Chapel Rd in East Tamaki, said it was devastating to see the damage this morning.
“It’s a scary scene here in the neighbourhood. People are heartbroken seeing the condition of their houses and roofs. You can sense the fear factor upon having a look at the damage.”
Authorities received more than 30 calls about damage from the tornado.
One Dannemora man said the twister “ripped one of our wooden fences out of the ground, ripped downpipes and guttering off our house and picked up a BBQ and threw it across our section”.
Most of the calls for help were due to roofs lifting or being damaged, trees blown on to houses, and trees falling on powerlines, Fire and Emergency said shortly before 11pm.
Fire and Emergency assistant area commander Dave McKeown said no injuries had been reported to authorities.
“Tonight, our crews have assessed damage, removed damaged trees, patched as many roofs as they can, boarded up windows, and tried to reassure occupants and give them advice to protect their houses till they can fixed.
“We’ve patched up as many roofs as we can, but unfortunately we’ve only got finite resource, we can’t fix them all. It will now be up to insurance companies to tidy up from here.”
Auckland Emergency Management had been receiving updates from emergency services since the first reports of “localised havoc” caused by the tornado just after 9pm.
A Civil Defence emergency centre was activated at the Howick Leisure Centre for anyone displaced by the tornado, but wasn’t used by anyone overnight.
Sophie Corbett told the Herald the tornado struck while she was in a car.
Corbett and her friend had travelled back from Ohakune on Sunday, and were passing through East Tamaki about 9.30pm along Ti Irirangi Drive.
”We were just passing by Kellaway Drive reserve area when the tornado hit us. Strong swirling winds and flying tree debris hit us, lifting the car slightly and swerving us from side to side.”
Corbett said the terrifying experience lasted about 30 seconds.
High winds have also struck in Half Moon Bay, with a resident there reporting damage to his roof and outdoor patio.
Fire and Emergency has not received reports of anyone trapped or injured, but Urban Search and Rescue teams are on standby if required.
The reports of damage are all in the area from Golflands to East Tamaki, and include Tamaki Heights, Flatbush and Huntington Park.
Manpreet Braar, who lives on Chapel Rd in East Tamaki, said: “It started off with a big bang. [Our] dog kennel turned upside down.
“Big trees are down, palm trees are down, my neighbour has one palm tree leaning on the house. Major blocks of roof tiles are down. Most of the houses are missing roof tiles.
“There are no fences remaining on the houses we can see.”
Another resident said there was “massive damage” from the tornado. Roofs had been blown off in the fierce wind and fences “blown away”, they said.
Civil Defence Duty Group Controller Mace Ward said Auckland Emergency Management had been receiving updates from emergency services since the first reports of a tornado just after 9pm, and taken a precautionary approach by opening a Civil Defence Centre.
“Whether this was a tornado or not, it appears that extremely strong and tornado-like winds have caused localised havoc across east Auckland this evening.
“Emergency services are responding to callouts for damage to homes and roofs – we don’t yet know how many people or properties are affected.”
The Civil Defence Centre was for anyone unable to stay with family or friends this evening.
“It is also important that Fire and Emergency crews are able to get to the area and carry out their work, so please stay away from the East Tamaki to Botany area,” Ward said.
MetService forecaster Hordur Thordarson on Sunday told the Herald “quite a line of active showers went through there just now” with the potential to trigger a tornado.