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UC Expert: Auckland Tornado A Furious Image On The Radar

UC Expert Describes Auckland Tornado As A Furious Image On The Radar

December 6, 2012

A University of Canterbury weather expert today described Auckland’s fatal tornado as a furious image on the radar.

UC lecturer in meteorology Dr Marwan Katurji said a forecast of damaging winds (110kph) and severe hail was put in place before three people were reportedly killed in a tornado in west Auckland.

``It might've been gale winds from the severe thunderstorm or a microburst - strong winds converging at the surface from above,’’ Dr Katurji said.

``Our UC forecast predicted the front and precipitation but unfortunately our high resolution forecast is only set for Canterbury so it will be difficult to assess the details of the event for Auckland.

``The North Island, especially the west coast, is more vulnerable to westerly and northerly winds that are associated with weather fronts. Warm moist air from the warmer Tasman Sea carries within it embedded thunderstorms. When the air hits land it interacts with the topography to create convergence zones and the wind speeds are higher in these areas and the storms get more severe in this case.

``The Auckland region is one of the hot spots for this activity which promotes tornados, though Taranaki region is the record holder.

``In Canterbury we are blessed with the Southern Alps that do shield off the severe westerly storms. But occasionally we do get the odd small waterspout off the Banks Peninsula coast.’’

ENDS

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