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Weather: Severe thunderstorm warning lifted for Auckland but stormy weather remains

NZ Herald
Thunderstorms, heavy rain and strong gales are set to batter parts of the country today. Video / NZHerald / Newa
  • MetService has lifted its severe thunderstorm warning for the Auckland radar area, however a severe thunderstorm watch remains in place until 7pm.
  • Gusts up to 120km/h are still expected across the top of the North Island.
  • NZTA is warning the Auckland Harbour Bridge may close temporarily.

MetService has now lifted its severe thunderstorm warning for Auckland after earlier warning people to take shelter as thunderstorms, heavy rain, hail and strong 120km/h gales hit the city.

Aucklanders are being warned not to be complacent however with a severe thunderstorm watch remaining in place until 7pm.

”You’ll need to keep your eyes to the southwest as fast-moving, passing showers are expected this afternoon and evening” MetService posted on social media.



Auckland Emergency Management is asking people to prepare for a windy afternoon and evening.

Acting General Manager Adam Maggs said they are not telling people to go home immediately, “but it is important to keep a close eye on any updates to the weather forecast and plan travel very carefully.”

Maggs said Aucklanders should keep an eye out for changes in the roading network, public transport and any potential harbour bridge closures.

”If you are out, drive to the conditions – watch your speed and if you don’t need to be on the roads this afternoon or evening, you can help avoid any pressure on transport networks by staying in or delaying your trip.

”High winds can bring trees down and affect power services, so if you’re in an area prone to power outages, now is a good time to make sure you have a plan in place to do without power for a short period of time.”

Heavy rain in Auckland's Māngere Bridge caused flash flooding this morning. Photo / Nav Alfa
Heavy rain in Auckland's Māngere Bridge caused flash flooding this morning. Photo / Nav Alfa

At 9:30am, MetService’s weather radar detected a line of severe thunderstorms lying off the West Coast, prompting the agency to issue a top priority severe thunderstorm warning.

The National Emergency Management Agency advised people to take shelter indoors and away from windows as the storm approached.

It asked people to remain vigilant even after the worst of the weather passed, especially around fallen trees and power lines, and streams and drains that may be flooded.

Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown is also urging Aucklanders to keep an eye on weather forecasts throughout the day. He’s also asking anyone planning to travel today to follow AT transport updates.

This morning, MetService issued a strong wind watch for Auckland and Great Barrier Island. Wind gusts of 120km/h are possible in exposed places from 10am until 2am tomorrow.

Drivers using the Auckland Harbour Bridge are being warned it could close temporarily if wind gusts reach threshold levels.

Potentially destructive gusts are forecast to begin at lunchtime and last until early Thursday morning.

NZTA is urging drivers to take extra care travelling over the bridge with the likelihood of reduced speed limits and some lanes on the bridge closing if wind gusts reach threshold levels.

It said the strongest wind gusts were predicted from 10am until midday and during rush hour at 6pm.

“If threshold levels are reached during this time, there is a possibility that all lanes on the bridge could close temporarily,” said the transport agency.

Auckland Emergency Management (AEM) last night advised Aucklanders to stay indoors and avoid going outside unless necessary.

“Drive carefully if you’re on the road, reduce speed and keep both hands on the wheel. Watch for fallen branches and do not drive through floodwaters,” the post read.

A Severe Thunderstorm Watch is also in place for Auckland, northwestern Waikato, and western parts of the Coromandel from 10am to 7pm, while the strong wind watch for Northland up to Kaikohe is in place from noon until 3am tomorrow.

Further strong wind watches are in place for the bottom of the South Island and western Taranaki, and would expire from late afternoon until early evening.

Forecaster Niwa said the strongest gusts were likely over coastal and higher areas. Localised power cuts and damage were possible.

People should prepare ahead of time by securing any loose objects that could be lifted or moved by the wind such as trampolines and wheelie bins, MetService said.

MetService meteorologist Mmathapelo Makgabutlane said thunderstorms are predicted to accompany the strong winds, with a chance of showers passing through.

“The wettest part of the country is forecast to be north of Whanganui, along the western parts, into Waikato and the Northland region.”

MetService says an unstable southwesterly flow will cover the country this morning, with an embedded cold front moving north to affect western parts of the North Island and South Island.

The cold front brings a moderate risk of thunderstorms about western areas from Taranaki to southern Northland and Auckland, with a low risk spreading across other areas from Northland to western Bay of Plenty and Horowhenua.

MetService predicts these thunderstorms will bring brief heavy rain, small hail, and squally wind gusts of 80-100km/h. A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect from 10am until 7pm.

In the South Island, there is a moderate risk of thunderstorms about Fiordland before dawn, and about northern Westland and Buller, mainly near the coast, through much of the morning.

A low risk covers other western and southern areas from western Tasman to Southland. Wind gusts could reach 80-90km/h near the coast.

Small amounts of snow fell overnight and through to early this morning on the Lindis Pass, Crown Range Rd, Milford Rd and Desert Rd.