Taranaki Civil Defence assesses Rahotu tornado damage

Taranaki Civil Defence is assessing damage from tornados that hit the Rahotu area earlier today and is coordinating the response to assist people with damaged homes and property. Strong winds are also forecast for Taranaki later today.

The New Zealand Met Service issued a Severe Wind Warning for Taranaki from 3pm to 11pm today. Southerlies are expected to rise to severe gale, gusting to 120km/hour or more Tuesday afternoon through to Tuesday night.

An active trough is expected to move across Taranaki this morning and early afternoon. The trough is likely to be accompanied by squally thunderstorms, possibly bringing strong wind gusts and localised damaging tornados. If tornados occur they will only affect very localised areas.

Eight homes were damaged by the tornados with three homes severely damaged. There are also reports of damage on Kahui Road.

Around 12,000 homes and businesses are without power in South Taranaki, including Rahotu and Patea.

The local Rahotu community is responding to assist those affected by the tornados. If people need food or shelter they should go to the Rahotu School.

Civil Defence will be assessing the need for emergency assistance and accommodation.

Strong winds are forecast for Taranaki later today. People can take precautions by:

  • Put your household emergency plan into action and check your getaway kit in case you have to leave in a hurry.
  • Pick up any debris around your house that could be become airborne.
  • Put rubbish bins, garden furniture and other loose items in the garage or indoors to prevent property damage.
  • Bring pets in doors. Move stock to shelter. If you have to evacuate, take your pets with you.
  • Close windows, external and internal doors. Close all curtains to slow down any flying glass.
  • Water supplies can be affected so it is a good idea to store drinking water in containers and fill bathtubs and sinks with water.

Once the strong winds arrive:

  • Stay away from windows and doors.  Shelter in the middle of the house preferably in an internal room such as a bathroom.
  • Do not walk around outside or drive unless absolutely necessary.
  • Listen to your local (state radio station names here) radio station for information.
  • Power cuts are possible in severe weather. Unplug small appliances which may be affected by electrical power surges. If power is lost unplug major appliances to reduce the power surge and possible damage when power is restored.