Twist and shout
So nobody ended up in Oz. As far as we know.
But the tornado that tore through Clyde backyards was violent and disorienting enough that a host of neighbours and readers further afield, would have been either silently or openly grateful that neither they nor their loved ones were caught up in it.
Thankfully, New Zealand doesn’t really have a Tornado Alley of the scale and intensity endured by frequently assailed US states Kansas, Oklahoma and parts of Texas.
But Spring does bring its turbulences.
In Clyde’s case the tornado was a twist - see what we did, there? - on the more familiar, but in this case certainly formidable, winds that were punishing the area at the time.
Most communities have times when they need to batten down the hatches.
Accounts like these will perhaps help motivate some of us not to get too blase when strong wind warnings are issued.
Ditto the reminders to drive to the conditions during such times. That’s good generic advice for when winds are particularly strong and gusty.
When they’ve actually become tornadoes, presumably driving to those conditions would entail driving elsewhere. And with some alacrity. In Clyde’s case caravans have been upended, a trampoline took flight, buildings lifted off foundations and eaves started breaking off houses as if they were gingerbread.
The West Coast is often-enough in the gun for tornadoes.
A tornado ripped through Arahura, north of Hokitika, on September 6, hitting a ko¯hanga reo (too early in the day for it to be full of littlies) and damaging at least five houses.
And let the record show that August 25 was the 69th anniversary of the Frankton tornado which killed three people and cut a swath through other parts of Hamilton as well.
Reasonably enough, southerners tend to be far more sensitised to the possibility of earthquakes and tsunamis, even industrial-strength storms, than twisters.
There’s no pressing need for householders, in Clyde or anywhere else, to start building tornado shelters in their backyards.