Watch as a tornado throws debris across an Ōhope holiday park

Publish Date
Tuesday, 21 August 2018, 4:28PM

A new video reveals the destructive force of a tornado as it barrelled towards an Ōhope holiday park.

The footage, filmed last night, shows debris from a building sucked up by the tornado and scattered into the air.

It was filmed at the Surf and Sand Holiday Park in Ōhope.

"My daughter and I were at home and we looked out the window at the hail and rain and my daughter spotted the tornado," said Andrea Inman who lives 50 metres from the Ōhope Holiday Park.

Inman said it didn't look like one at the time but as it got closer and started moving they realised it was.

"You could just see it on the coastline. Moving closer and closer and getting bigger and bigger."

"Then it stopped raining and hailing and went quiet. You could hear birds tweeting. It was quite spooky."

She said the wind and hail came back and within seconds it went from being out at sea to coming through the park.

"I've never experienced anything like it. We prepare for earthquakes and tsunami but never tornadoes - nothing prepares you for that. It was incredibly dangerous and I should never have been standing up their filming it to be honest."

"You don't realise the severity of it and just how dangerous that was. Because you've never seen it, it just seems surreal. I was so worried that people were down at the beach walking their dogs and things like that."

"But everyone seems to be fine. There has been a lot of damage. I like there was an angel looking out for us because all the damage was surrounding the house but nothing into the house or backyard."

"That roof in the video was flying straight towards us and I thought it was going to hit but it flew over and around."

She said it was a disaster zone this morning but from about 6.30am there had been about 50 people from the community help with the clean up.

The tornado, which struck the eastern end of Ōhope at 5.45pm yesterday significantly damaged at least two properties and caused moderate damage to a further four properties.

The most significant damage was at the Surf and Sand conference centre, and at least one nearby home in Harbour Rd, Whakatāne District Council said this morning.

"Fire Service units from Ōhope, Whakatāne, Edgecumbe, Tāneatua and Rural Fire attended to assist with securing damaged properties and Police patrols were increased overnight to provide additional security," a council spokesman said.

"A Whakatane District Council wastewater pump station was also damaged, shutting down the sewerage system in the area. The wastewater service restarted overnight and repairs to the pump station structure will be undertaken today."

This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is reproduced here with permission.