A family says they feel lucky to be alive after a tornado ripped through their home, wrecking it and "snapping 50-foot pine trees like toothpicks".

Dan Tudman - who was out when the tornado struck - was phoned by his terrified daughter and arrived home to find "everything was destroyed, absolutely everything".

The wild weather of the past two days is expected to be replaced by isolated showers and fine spells today.

Dan Tudman and his daughter Eden support each other as they return to their family's Dairy Flat home which was badly damaged by Friday's tornado. New Zealand Herald photograph / Slyvie Whinray
Dan Tudman and his daughter Eden support each other as they return to their family's Dairy Flat home which was badly damaged by Friday's tornado. New Zealand Herald photograph / Slyvie Whinray

Tudman said his daughter Eden phoned in hysterics from their Dairy Flat home - north of Auckland - as she sheltered in the bathtub on Friday night.

"She was screaming," Tudman said.

Advertisement

"I thought there was an intruder in the home because she was incomprehensible."

Finally, he was able to make out a tornado had ripped through their house.

He rushed home but found his way barred.

Wires from a powerline had collapsed across the property's front gate and Tudman almost drove straight into them.

"I nearly got nailed there," he said.

Making his way up the driveway on foot, he passed giant pine trees snapped like twigs and waded through waters spilling over from the property's flooded dam to find the house badly damaged.

That included his bedroom.

"If I was in my room [at the time], I would have been dead because my room is in pieces," he said.

Advertisement

The upper half of the North Island has faced a barrage of stormy weather since Friday – including a series of tornadoes that caused extensive damage to parts of Dairy Flat and South Auckland on Friday night and Saturday morning.

And as locals continue their cleanups from the wild weather, the elements are expected to settle today.

READ MORE:
Weather: Heavy rain warnings and watches for the North Island, including Auckland
'Terrifying tornado': Flooding and roofs lifted in Auckland wild weather
Photos show wild weather damage across Dairy Flat, Auckland
NZ's cold weather explained: What's created this weekend's monster high?

Forecaster WeatherWatch said June was a "game-changing" month weatherwise.

While things should temporarily settle today, more bad weather is expected.

"For New Zealand, the rain isn't over just yet," WeatherWatch said.

"More northern rain and showers are coming in the days ahead, while another week from now, around Monday, July 6, there may be another brief burst of heavy sub-tropical fuelled rain for northern New Zealand followed by more showers and west to south-west winds kicking back in."

Tornado rips through Mangawhai Heads. Fenz Responding to multiple reports of damage.

A cold change is also expected to bring snow dumps at higher altitudes in the North and South Islands.

More settled weather is likely by mid-July.

The storms tore roofs from homes, brought flooding and power cuts and flung trampolines skyward across North, West and South Auckland on Friday night and Saturday morning.

Businesses in East Tamaki had their storefronts ripped open, while one woman was interrupted during birth when debris smashed the windows of her ambulance.

Dan Tudman and his daughter Eden survey tornado damage to their family's Dairy Flat home yesterday. New Zealand Herald photograph / Sylvie Whinray
Dan Tudman and his daughter Eden survey tornado damage to their family's Dairy Flat home yesterday. New Zealand Herald photograph / Sylvie Whinray

Tudman was still dressed in wet shoes when he spoke to the Herald.

"Because that is all I've been able to recover, we've just got the clothes on our back."

The family spent Saturday morning combing through the wreckage. They hope insurance will cover the damage.

But that will take time and in the next weeks, they are without a place to sleep or any of their possessions.

Well, almost none. Tudman's daughter was due to celebrate her 21st birthday on Monday and she managed to save her birthday dress.

The family hoped her party would go ahead as planned.

The path of destruction left by a tornado which tore through the Dairy Flat area on Friday night. Photo / Caleb Paterson
The path of destruction left by a tornado which tore through the Dairy Flat area on Friday night. Photo / Caleb Paterson

Tudman said the tornado cut a noticeable path through his property and drone footage from Dairy Flat dramatically showed how the storm picked its way over paddocks, felling some trees and sparing others.

Residents in the area took to Facebook in its aftermath.

"I love a storm but that was ... terrifying," one resident wrote.

A resident from Pine Valley said it was the "loudest thing I ever heard" as their home was "hit full-on".

"Our fences got shredded, my car's been bashed in, the walls of our garage are gone, we have multiple big trees down on our drive and we can't leave.

Fire and Emergency NZ's Craig Dally said crews raced about Auckland on Friday night responding to 24 calls for help in the city's north and west from about 10pm.

Silverdale and Dairy Flat in north-west Auckland were hit first.

Then the heavy winds moved to Te Atatu, West Auckland and Waimauku.

"There was flooding, roofs lifting and trees and power lines down," Dally said.

The dramatic storm followed another tornado earlier in the day at Mangawhai, further north.

Yet Auckland's wild weather wasn't done then. Another tornado hit East Tamaki and Otara on Saturday morning, while a further storm was reported in Tauranga around the same time.

Tornado damage to Auckland Bathroom supply store in East Tamaki on Saturday morning. Photo / Hayden Woodward
Tornado damage to Auckland Bathroom supply store in East Tamaki on Saturday morning. Photo / Hayden Woodward

A woman who was in labour in an ambulance at her property escaped serious injury when the windows of the vehicle were smashed in by debris from a shed.

Thousands of dollars of damage was done on Allens Rd in East Tamaki where the tornado ripped an entire wall off the Elite Bathroomware Showroom.

Metal sheeting and wood were left strewn on the showroom's carpark along with office furniture and electrical equipment that had been sucked out by the winds.

Next door, skylights and roof panels were blown out on the Electric Motor Group-Brooks MTL stores, leaving up to $2.5 million of weather-sensitive stock exposed to the elements.

Further south in Papatoetoe, one trampoline was photographed comically out of place bent around a power pole at the front of the Victoria Dairy.

And in the Bay of Plenty, a small tornado also tore through Papamoa.

Local man Gregg Conning filmed as debris was lifted into the air as the tornado passed through.

"I live right on the edge of town so I watched the whole thing tear through the farm. The neighbour's playground is gone, their fence is gone, it's left quite a trail in its wake.

"I first spotted a big black tramp floating through the air and just as I was thinking 'what the heck, is that a tramp?' a second tramp flew past."

Subscribe to Premium

The heavy rain that slammed Auckland has brought one positive; Auckland's dams were yesterday back to 51 per cent capacity. But residents were still being encouraged to conserve water.

The brief reprieve comes as the city moves to an alert level system to manage its water supply crisis.

A significant lack of rain, including 78 days with less than 1mm of rain from January 20 to April 6, has resulted in a serious water shortage at Auckland's nine dams.

The region has recorded less than half of its normal rainfall since November last year.