A TORNADO destroyed everything in its path with devastating force in New Zealand — as a former Hucknall woman watched on from just a few yards away.
The twister brought winds of up to 150 mph to Albany in Auckland — killing one man and injuring 15 residents on Monday May 2.
The incredible phenomenon was seen by Lorraine Tracey (53), nee Bower, who grew up on Shortwood Avenue in Hucknall, where her parents, John and Dorothy Bower, still live. Her older sister, Valerie Limb, lives on Common Lane
She emigrated to New Zealand in 1988 with husband Mick Tracey (53). Both went to what was previously Annie Holgate Technical Grammar School in Hucknall.
Lorraine was at work when the tornado hit.
Speaking exclusively to the Dispatch, she said: “We all rushed to the windows to look and saw things going up in the air in the distance.
“I hoped that it was nowhere near my house and I was worried because my two boys were coming out of school at the time.”
Thankfully her sons — Luke (19) and Niall (14) — were safe.
When Niall was leaving Glenfield College he heard the rumblings of the tornado. He rushed back inside and pressed himself against the building.
Parents were waiting in cars and a tree came down on one near to where Niall and his friends would catch the bus home.
Lorraine and Mick, who live in Glenfield on Auckland’s North Shore, both work in offices in Albany — not far from the Mega Centre shopping complex, which was severely damaged by the storm.
“We all felt quite shaken and listened to the news on the radio to find out what was happening,” added Lorraine.
“There were sirens going on all over the place. This was too close for comfort. On the way home from work there was glass all over the roads.
“To witness the tornado was frightening, knowing it could change direction at any time and head towards us.”