New Zealand Tornado Kills 3:
A freak tornado hit Auckland Thursday killing three people and causing “utter devastation” as wild weather ripped apart homes and caused flash flooding in New Zealand’s largest city.
The storm, packing gusts of more than 110 kilometers (70 miles) per hour, struck suburban Hobsonville in the afternoon, toppling trees, ripping roofs from houses and sending debris flying.
Civil Defense said three people died and seven were hospitalized, with two of the fatalities believed to have been caused by a concrete slab that landed on the cabin of a truck and the other by a falling tree.
About 150 homes were badly damaged, many rendered uninhabitable, forcing residents into temporary accommodation at a nearby air force base.
New Zealand is prone to tornadoes but they are relatively rare and typically much smaller than those seen in North America, where a string of twisters killed dozens of people in the US Midwest last March.
The Metservice weather agency said the tornado was created by a series of intense thunderstorms that lashed the city through the day, largely dissipating by early evening, although there were fears the winds could pick up overnight. –by AFP