NZ Historic Weather Events Catalog

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August 1948 Waikato Tornado ( 1948-08-25 )

Three people were killed when a devastating tornado struck Frankton and travelled south-east through Hamilton.

Waikato

TornadoTornado at Hamilton
Map Location: -37.780815 175.272927
Comments:

CommentAt 12 noon on the 25th August 1948 a tornado hit the Frankton Junction and parts of Hamilton.

CommentThe tornado originated in Frankton, travelled through the business area of Frankton, went over the hill into Hamilton West where it passed between the Hamilton Lake and Victoria Street and then travelled across the Waikato River to Hamilton East. It caused minor damage at Hillcrest School before passing into open country to Tamahere. Debris from some buildings was carried as far as Bruntwood and Hautapu, near Cambridge.

DamageHouses were destroyed and some were picked up off the foundations. Chimneys were snapped off, houses were unroofed, trees uprooted and motor cars and fences were destroyed..

ImpactThe air was filled with flying corrugated iron, branches off trees, timber and other debris.

Affected LifelinePower and telephone lines were left hanging.

CommentTornado spent much of its lifetime over farmland and was on the ground for only part of the time as it crossed the city. It only spent 10 minutes on the ground.

DamageIt was New Zealand's most damaging and lethal tornado.

DamageIt cut a path of destruction 100-200 yards (91-183 m) wide across both farmland and through the suburbs and business areas.

DamageThe tornado damaged or destroyed 163 buildings and 50 businesses.

Property DamageProperty damage was estimated to be as high as £1,000,000 ($65,434,000 2010 dollars).

CasualtiesThere were three casualties.

InjuriesFive injured people were admitted to hospital and about 20 others were treated in the casualty ward. Scores of people were given first aid treatment for cuts and bruises.

Property DamageThe main area affected was through Kent Street and part of Norton Road, Frankton. Also affected was Commerce Street, along the main business centre and neighbouring streets. Lake Road was seriously affected and every home on the Frankton station side of Keddell Street was totally destroyed.

ImpactThe tornado completely lifted a house and placed it across the street.

DamageThe Maoriland Company's timbermill, yard and machinery shop were smashed and extensive damage was done to the plant.

Multi HazardMulti Hazard
Comments:

CommentHeavy rain, lightning and thunder accompained the tornado.

References

Grayland, Eugene C. (1957). New Zealand Disasters.
New Zealands Disasters and Tragedies. Frankton Tornado, Hamilton, Waikato, Wednesday 25 August 1948. http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~sooty/franktontornado.html
New Zealand's Nature Hertiage, Hamlyn House, Auckland, Volume 6, Great Storms
NZ Geographic Issue 86, Armed and dangerous, history of tornadoes in Nz (Jul - Aug 2007): 11-13.
Headline:Three Killed: Heavy Damage in Cyclone. Violent storm sweeps Hamilton leaving trail of destruction in narrow swathe cut across city.
The Waikato Times, 25 August 1948.
Headline: Why the spate of tornadoes?
www.nzherald.co.nz, Source: NZ Herald and NZPA, 6 July 2007, 12:00pm.

August 1948 Waikato Tornado ( 1948-08-25 )

Three people were killed when a devastating tornado struck Frankton and travelled south-east through Hamilton.

Waikato

TornadoTornado at Hamilton
Map Location: -37.780815 175.272927
Comments:

CommentAt 12 noon on the 25th August 1948 a tornado hit the Frankton Junction and parts of Hamilton.

CommentThe tornado originated in Frankton, travelled through the business area of Frankton, went over the hill into Hamilton West where it passed between the Hamilton Lake and Victoria Street and then travelled across the Waikato River to Hamilton East. It caused minor damage at Hillcrest School before passing into open country to Tamahere. Debris from some buildings was carried as far as Bruntwood and Hautapu, near Cambridge.

DamageHouses were destroyed and some were picked up off the foundations. Chimneys were snapped off, houses were unroofed, trees uprooted and motor cars and fences were destroyed..

ImpactThe air was filled with flying corrugated iron, branches off trees, timber and other debris.

Affected LifelinePower and telephone lines were left hanging.

CommentTornado spent much of its lifetime over farmland and was on the ground for only part of the time as it crossed the city. It only spent 10 minutes on the ground.

DamageIt was New Zealand's most damaging and lethal tornado.

DamageIt cut a path of destruction 100-200 yards (91-183 m) wide across both farmland and through the suburbs and business areas.

DamageThe tornado damaged or destroyed 163 buildings and 50 businesses.

Property DamageProperty damage was estimated to be as high as £1,000,000 ($65,434,000 2010 dollars).

CasualtiesThere were three casualties.

InjuriesFive injured people were admitted to hospital and about 20 others were treated in the casualty ward. Scores of people were given first aid treatment for cuts and bruises.

Property DamageThe main area affected was through Kent Street and part of Norton Road, Frankton. Also affected was Commerce Street, along the main business centre and neighbouring streets. Lake Road was seriously affected and every home on the Frankton station side of Keddell Street was totally destroyed.

ImpactThe tornado completely lifted a house and placed it across the street.

DamageThe Maoriland Company's timbermill, yard and machinery shop were smashed and extensive damage was done to the plant.

Multi HazardMulti Hazard
Comments:

CommentHeavy rain, lightning and thunder accompained the tornado.

References

Grayland, Eugene C. (1957). New Zealand Disasters.
New Zealands Disasters and Tragedies. Frankton Tornado, Hamilton, Waikato, Wednesday 25 August 1948. http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~sooty/franktontornado.html
New Zealand's Nature Hertiage, Hamlyn House, Auckland, Volume 6, Great Storms
NZ Geographic Issue 86, Armed and dangerous, history of tornadoes in Nz (Jul - Aug 2007): 11-13.
Headline:Three Killed: Heavy Damage in Cyclone. Violent storm sweeps Hamilton leaving trail of destruction in narrow swathe cut across city.
The Waikato Times, 25 August 1948.
Headline: Why the spate of tornadoes?
www.nzherald.co.nz, Source: NZ Herald and NZPA, 6 July 2007, 12:00pm.