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New Zealand's deadly tornadoes

17:24 Thu Dec 6 2012
AAP

NEW ZEALAND TORNADO DEATHS:

* In May 2011, One person was killed when the Portacom building he was in was hurled into a car park in a tornado at Albany. Winds of up to 200km/h wrecked houses and cars and also injured dozens of people

* In August 2004, two people were killed when their Waitara house was destroyed when a tornado swept across Taranaki

* New Zealand's worst tornado to date struck Hamilton in 1948, killing three people, injuring 80 and wrecking nearly 150 houses

* NIWA says tornadoes are relatively rare events in New Zealand. On average around seven moderate to strong tornado events reported each year.

* New Zealand tornadoes are usually around a few tens of metres wide and have tracks of just a couple of kilometres and last just a few minutes.

* However, New Zealand tornadoes are neither as common nor as destructive as those in the United States, where in 1974 more than 300 people were killed.

Source: Te Ara and NIWA.