Tornado strikes Ohope, rips holiday park building apart

Long Lunch 21/08/2018
Photo: Supplied.

A normal winter’s day turned into panic for Ohope locals as a tornado struck on Monday evening.

A building at the Ohope Top 10 Holiday Park in Whakatane suffered serious damage. Park manager Mark Inman said the tornado came from “out of the blue”.

“It was just your normal wintry day with a little bit of drizzle here and there, there was no real high wind,” he told RadioLIVE’s Carly Flynn.

“Not something usual for Ohope Beach, usually it’s sunny.”

Mr Inman said a building at the camp had been "completely blown apart" by the rapidly rotating column of air.

“It roared through our little park and tore a building apart, now we’re left with no conference centre.”

There were no people in the building at the time the tornado swept through, which he estimated was about 20 metres wide.

Mr Inman told RadioLIVE there was no time to prepare for the event.

“It’s pretty exciting, especially when you see a roof flying straight towards you – all sorts of thoughts go through your mind at the time.

It’s all done and dusted in 10 seconds.

He said campers were all accounted for, but it was difficult to check the site because it was so dark.

Mr Inman said several houses in the vicinity of the campground have also been damaged.

“We got off pretty lightly, other than a damaged building. It could have been a lot worse.”

A separate tornado also damaged several houses in 300km away in New Plymouth, tearing up fences, smashing windows and ripping off a roof.

Listen to the full interview with Mark Inman above.

The Long Lunch with Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.