A mini-tornado ripped the entire roof off a Hawke's Bay home yesterday afternoon, in a freak incident that has left the occupant homeless on his birthday.
Neighbours described seeing a cloud of dust grow bigger and bigger across a Ford St, Waipukurau paddock before the roof of Dusty Sigvertsen's home was thrust into the air, broken into pieces and left strewn 20m away in a tangled heap.
Mr Sigvertsen was not at the rental home when the mini-tornado struck, but neighbour Maureen Fiveash said it was surreal watching the freak incident play out.
"We were just sitting on the deck and my son noticed the leaves blowing off a tree, but it's not Autumn. Then we saw the dust in the paddock and thought it was a little whirlwind.
"But then the dust got bigger and bigger and we were standing there and saw the roof get lifted right off."
Mr Sigvertsen said the roof lay in pieces, about 20m from the house.
"There's not much of the roof left," he said. "Its all in bits in the paddock now. I didn't even think it was that windy today."
Last night he was packing his possessions and staying with a friend, and would begin the search for a new home today.
"It's not the best birthday present."
The Waipukurau Volunteer Fire Brigade attended the freak act of nature, and deemed the structure safe for Mr Sigvertsen to retrieve his belongings.
Mrs Fiveash said the wind also sent terrified cows scattering in the dairy farm next door before "petering out" barely 200m from the damaged home.