Some locals in the path of yesterday's tornado are thanking their luck for dodging the destruction, but others wonder how long it will take to fix their devastated homes.
Melissa Siaea lived in a Papatoetoe block of flats, and each unit was gutted, with the building's entire roof ripped off and most windows obliterated.
"Out of all the windows, we're the only ones that haven't shattered," she said.
That was small consolation. She said rain fell in the South Auckland suburb after the tornado yesterday, and again today, turning her upstairs floor into a swamp.
Standing on the sodden carpet, beneath where the roof used to be, Siaea could see the path the tornado took, with trees flattened and debris everywhere.
Tile fragments, guttering and metal sheets from roofs were sprayed across the neighbourhood, cloths and clothing hung from branches, and car windows were smashed.
One car in a Hayward Rd carport was lifted up, and appeared to have been wedged into the roof. A nearby brick fence was cracked and leaning over.
Pink Batts were scattered about, and the neighbourhood roofs are a patchwork of tarps of different sizes and colours, fashioned as fast as possible after the tornado.
Fallen trees blocked the residents from leaving the wrecked apartment block property for a while yesterday, Siaea said.
Now everyone had vacated, and she said her neighbours faced a struggle trying to figure out how to fix the mess.
"They've been trying to get through to the insurance but I think it's just overloaded."
She hoped police or guards would be at the scene to ensure no burglars or vandals took advantage of the damage.
A property manager who came to visit said he'd witnessed the 2012 Whenuapai tornado.
Siaea joked that the tornadoes must follow him around.
Locals organised debris into piles outside homes on Fitzroy St and Hayward Rd.
One Hayward Rd group of tenants said the community had been very supportive, and just as they described that, a woman turned up with parcels of food for them.
The randomness and power of the tornado had some locals in disbelief.
"It's not safe anywhere in the world," Mohammed Hafiz said. "Anything can happen anywhere."
He was out but his family was home when the twister hit. As with many other homes, his roof was badly damaged, with tiles missing and a tarp on top to keep the rain out.
Hafiz wondered how much time the various insurance processes would last before normality could resume.
"It might take a couple of months."
He said he would contact Auckland Council tomorrow to see how the removal of debris would be paid for. Some locals have already started piling rubbish into skips.
Hafiz has had no electricity since yesterday, but believed power would be restored today or tomorrow.
On Fitzroy St, Vinod and Roshini Lal said only luck prevented their house from being damaged.
"All the debris were flying," Vinod said. "Big chunks were flying. It was scary. Piles of tiles fell down."
He and Roshini said the tornado looked just like in cartoon depictions - a huge, dark funnel wrecking everything in its way.
Their home was just a few metres from the tornado's path.
The Lals said much of the wreckage in the street came from far away and as the tornado hurled objects through their air, the noise was terrible.
"It was like a bulldozer."