Tornado strikes New Plymouth, injuring one person and damaging house

A tornado has struck New Plymouth today, injuring one person.

Storm forecast in Taranaki. Source: MetService

Fire and Emergeny NZ (FENZ) confirmed a tornado has hit a building in Paraite Road, injuring one person. St John said they were taken to Taranaki Base Hospital in a moderate condition.

Police were also called to an incident where a car was hit by a trampoline flying through the air caused by the tornado.

The car was driving down SH3 on Devon Road in the suburb of Bell Block. No one was injured but the driver was shaken by the incident.

FENZ has confirmed a tornado has ripped through another house on Henwood Road and the roof has lifted.

Police said they were called to reports roofs coming off and power outages in the Lepperton area about 10am, as well as another report from a person who says they saw a side of a shed that was blown off on Corbett Street in Lepperton.

Powerco is reporting more than 500 properties in Lepperton have been affected.

However, FENZ says the tornado has now passed through New Plymouth and everything is starting to calm down.

MetService earlier issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Stratford and New Plymouth with torrential rain, large hail, damaging wind gusts and possible tornadoes expected.

It comes after Auckland and Northland was hit by a rough night of weather overnight which caused damage to homes, and multi-million dollar event centre The Cloud on the waterfront had part of its roof torn off.

Shortly after 9am, MetService's weather radar detected severe thunderstorms near New Plymouth and Bell Block.

"These severe thunderstorms are moving towards the eastsoutheast, and are expected to lie near Tarata at 9.37am and near Whangamomona and Pohokura Saddle at 10.07am," MetService said in a statement.

"Torrential rain can cause surface and/or flash flooding about streams, gullies and urban areas, and make driving conditions extremely hazardous," the weather service warned.

"Large hail can cause significant damage to crops, orchards, vines, glasshouses and vehicles, and make driving conditions hazardous.

"Very strong wind gusts can break branches from trees, damage roofing, and make driving hazardous especially for high-sided vehicles and motorcycles.

"Tornadoes can blow out windows, lift roofs, break large branches off trees, generate dangerous flying debris and blow vehicles off the road."

The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management had advised people in the areas to take shelter - preferably indoors away from windows, to avoid sheltering under trees if outside, to move cars under cover or away from trees, to secure any loose objects around your property, to check that drains and gutters are clear, and to be ready to slow down or stop if driving.

They also advised people to beware of fallen trees and power lines during the storm and to avoid streams and drains which could sweep you away in flash flooding.

MetService said an update to the warning is expected shortly after 10am.