Tornado hits Appleby nursery

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A tornado ripped through James and Susie Dean’s Appleby property during Wednesday morning’s wild weather,  sending a trampoline flying 250m through the air and flattening two large trees and thousands of young trees in their Lansdowne Rd nursery.

Although James says the tornado caused  “absolute devastation” to parts of their property, it fortunately missed all their buildings. The only permanent damage was the two large trees that were flattened and the trampoline that was found smashed 250m away in a neighbouring orchard.

“I woke up about two in the morning when I heard a huge crash,” James says. “I went back to sleep and didn’t think anymore about it until I got up this morning and my son said ‘there’s shade cloth off down the side of the nursery’.

“Then he went down to the nursery and came back and said there’s absolute devastation down there. A 150-year-old willow is flattened and a big London Plane tree is down and all of young trees are on their side.

“I have never known anything like it. It looks like a tornado has come through – you can see the path where it went through our property and no one else around here has been affected.

“My granddaughter’s trampoline got lifted up and thrown over the hedge and landed about 250m away – it’s in pieces. Luckily the buildings are okay – we’ll be okay.”

James says they have been busy “cleaning-up this morning” after about 2000 young trees in pots were been blown over on their sides.

The MetService is forecasting “unstable” weather conditions over the next 48 hours, with a risk of thunderstorms and hail around the Nelson-Tasman region. Up to 25 millimetres of rain per hour and 15mm hailstones are possible from Wednesday afternoon as slow-moving storms hit the region.