Media release

09 May 2023

MetService has issued an Orange Heavy Rain Warning and a Severe Thunderstorm Watch for Auckland, including Aotea Great Barrier Island for tomorrow (Tuesday 9 May).

The Orange Heavy Rain Warning is in place between midday and midnight on Tuesday and the Severe Thunderstorm Watch covers 2pm to 10pm of the same period.

An active front is set to move across Auckland, including Aotea Great Barrier, on Tuesday afternoon and evening, bringing heavy rain, thunderstorms and strong northeast winds.

Auckland Civil Defence and Emergency Management Group Committee Chair, Cr Sharon Stewart, says Aucklanders should take advantage of the advanced warning of the bad weather ahead and plan accordingly.

“Now is the time to make sure your bad weather plan is up to date,” says Cr Stewart. “This includes knowing what you might do if your property or the area you live in is vulnerable to flooding, where you might go if you need to evacuate and what you need to take with you.

“Visit today make a plan for your family.”

Orange Heavy Rain WARNING – midday to midnight Tuesday

Periods of heavy rain, with squally thunderstorms possible. Around 50 to 70mm is expected, but possibly more in localised areas. Intensities of 10 to 15mm per hour, but thunderstorms and downpours of 40mm per hour or more are possible in localised areas.

Heavy rain may cause streams and rivers to rise rapidly. Surface flooding and slips are also possible and driving conditions may be hazardous.

Severe Thunderstorm WATCH – 2pm to 10pm Tuesday

An active front is expected to bring thunderstorms Tuesday afternoon and evening. Some of these thunderstorms may become severe, producing localised torrential rain in excess of 40 mm/h and a slight chance of a damaging tornado. If any tornadoes occur, they will only affect very localised areas.

Read more about MetService watches and warnings here.

Stay vigilant and have a plan

Auckland Emergency Management Duty Controller Parul Sood says as this weather system moves towards the region, Aucklanders should remain vigilant and have an emergency plan in place if they need to evacuate, especially those people who live in isolated areas, or areas prone to flooding.

“In the event that people need to evacuate their homes, we are prepared to open shelters and civil defence centres in areas where they might be needed.

“If you’re unable to stay where you are, or can’t shelter with whānau or friends, we strongly encourage people to check the AEM website and social media channels to see whether civil defence centres have been stood up,” she says. “If your life is in danger, call 111 immediately.

“If you need to evacuate, and it is safe to do so, bring important medications, essential items for babies and children, and warm clothing with you.”

Ms Sood says people should also think carefully about their movements from late morning on Tuesday, through to Wednesday morning.

“Thunderstorms and heavy rain are forecast for Auckland, so it’s important that people consider their travel plans carefully and never drive through flood waters,” she says.

People should also prepare for power cuts by making sure their phones are charged and they have torches ready.

Prepared and ready to respond

Ms Sood says since the first watches were issued by the MetService early in the week, Auckland Council teams have been busy preparing for heavy rainfall.

“Our Healthy Waters department has carried out inspections and maintenance at hotspots throughout the region that are prone to flooding – this includes clearing blocked inlets, outlets, catchpits and ponds that are know to contribute to flooding,” she says.

“With soils at saturation point, floodwaters will take time to drain and trees can become unstable, therefore our arborists have checked the most vulnerable trees on public land.

“These teams are also on standby if an emergency response is required, and building assessors are also ready to respond in case any rapid building assessments need to be undertaken.”

Landslide advice

Properties next to, above or below properties affected by existing landslides may be at increased risk of further landslides, says Head of Engineering Resilience, Ross Roberts.

“In many areas, cliff top properties with existing landslides may encounter further damage.

“If your house has a red “entry prohibited” placard, ensure you’re following the requirement to stay out.

“If your house has a yellow “restricted access” placard, follow the restrictions given on the placard and seriously consider avoiding any entry for the duration of the event.

“If your house is next to a property with a placard, or if you see any signs of instability, or if you are concerned about the stability of the land around your house, we recommend you are extra cautious during this likely severe weather event and you may want to consider finding alternative accommodation during heavy rain,” says Mr Roberts.

Land instability warning signs to look for

  • new cracking in the ground around your house
  • recent movement such as leaning power poles, trees, and retaining walls
  • muddy water flowing down slopes or springs forming
  • loss of power or other utilities
  • new cracks appearing inside the house eg, in gib/plaster, tiles
  • jamming doors and windows can be a warning sign but are common in humid conditions, so if this occurs look for other warning signs
  • unusual sounds such as trees cracking, rumbling or rocks falling or knocking together
  • pavements sinking or finding new rocks, soil, or other debris on or around your house and property.

Preparing for bad weather

  • Keep an eye on the weather forecast.
  • Take extreme care if you are driving in heavy rain, and delay trips if possible. Do not drive through floodwaters.
  • If life or property is at risk, phone 111.
  • Looking out for neighbours, friends and family is also important, especially if you live, work or travel in an area that is prone to flooding, slips or power outages.
  • Fallen trees, blocked drains or debris on public property can be reported to
  • Auckland Council using our online ‘Report a Problem’ tool.
  • If your property is damaged, take photographs for your insurer as early as possible.

If out and about in a storm

  • Always drive to the weather conditions and never drive through floodwaters.
  • If you get stuck in a flood, get out of your car and move to higher ground immediately, taking great care in the floodwaters.
  • Never play in or walk through floodwaters unnecessarily, you may encounter unseen objects, dangerous debris or holes.
  • If driving at night, drive slowly, especially through flood-prone areas as you may encounter flooding at short notice.
  • Never attempt to drive over slips and treat power lines as live at all times.
  • Check on neighbours and family, especially if they are in at risk areas or might be affected by flooding or slips.

Pets and livestock

If you live on a rural property, think about your livestock rotation, especially if areas of your farms are flood-prone.

  • If you have to evacuate, take your pets with you – if you can do so safely – or take them to a safe shelter place.
  • If you have to leave your animals behind, make sure they’re in a secure and sheltered place either inside or outside your home.
  • If you have livestock or horses in paddocks near waterways that have the potential to flood (streams, rivers etc.), move them to higher ground. Make sure your stock have access to clean feed and water in their new contained space until they can be returned to their paddocks.
  • If you need more detailed guidance, check the animals affected by emergencies factsheets on the Ministry for Primary Industries website.


There is also a possibility of tornado conditions but, as always, it is hard to pick where the greatest risk is and almost impossible to predict where a tornado might appear, so remember:

  • If you see a tornado, seek shelter immediately.
  • If you’re inside, stay away from doors and windows, and stay downstairs if you’re in a multi-storey building.
  • For added protection, get under something sturdy, cover your body with a blanket or mattress and protect your head with your hands.
  • If you’re outside, lay flat in a gully, ditch or low spot on the ground and protect your head with an object or your arms.
  • If you’re in a car, pull over and shelter in a low spot (not under or near the car).


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