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Three dead after wild weather lashes Auckland

Tornado damage on Waimarie Road in Whenuapai.
Tornado damage on Waimarie Road in Whenuapai. Anthony Bitossi/ NZ Herald

THREE people have been killed after severe weather - including an apparent tornado - hit west Auckland.

Police sources have just confirmed that three had died in the west Auckland storm.

Fire services communications manager Peter Stevenson said two people had been killed when a slab of concrete fell onto a truck at the St Georges Rd intersection

NewstalkZB has also reported that two people are dead and a third is missing after a tornado ripped through the west Auckland suburb of Hobsonville. This report has not been confirmed.

The tornado reportedly hit Hobsonville, tearing down trees and ripping panels from the motorway.

Fire, police and ambulance are racing to multiple callouts in Hobsonville and Upper Harbour and it It is understood a number of people may have been injured as a result.

The military are also believed to have been called in to assist.

Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) has been called to Wallingford Way in Hobsonville, and traffic been stopped in and out.

A point has been set up for "patients''.

 

WeatherWatch predicts that a second round of thunderstorms and torrential downpours are on set to hit West Auckland, only 90 minutes after the first.

"We are advising people to remain indoors until the torrential rain and possible thunder has passed, most likely over the next hour or two" said head weather analyst Philip Duncan.

Police were unable to comment on the situation as they were still being inundated with 111 calls from the Waitakere area.

A Fire Service spokesman said there appeared to be "significant building damage" and a number of people trapped.

"Wallingford Way is one street that has been particularly affected."

He said Fire Service teams were on the scene with more on the way.

Fire Service spokesperson Scott Osmond said there had been a number of callouts in West Auckland in the past hour due to the wild weather.

A roof had caved in at Mastertrade on Moselle Avenue, Henderson, he said, while there were reports of chimneys being toppled and roofs blown off in Hobsonville.

Callers to Newstalk ZB said an apparent tornado had brought down lights on the motorway and there were "dozens and dozens" of trees on the side of the road.

It hit the Upper Harbour motorway near Whenuapai.

Callers also said that it tore huge wooden panels off the side of the motorway, with heavy rain at the time.

Vector Energy has reported a power outage for the area of Hobsonville, with power not due to return until 2.30pm.

Meanwhile, another Newstalk ZB caller, Barney, has described it as scary weather.

"I've just got off at Point Chevalier just for fear of my life pretty much.

"Surface water is terrible, visibility is awful and nobody's putting their lights on."

Local resident Jordan Carter said high winds had hit his house in Whenuapai.

The fence had been blown down, trees uprooted and the lid of the spa pool gone, he said.

MetService spokesperson Dan Corbett could not confirm there has been a tornado.

"We're not completely discounting it, because on the Doppler radar, which can actually see the wind, we are seeing good converging winds on the front, that's the whole reason why we've got the thunderstorms this afternoon.

"There's a strong northerly, which becomes a northwester right on the weather front, that's where you can get a 'twist' with converging winds, you can sometimes see in thunderstorms what we call 'spinning', or rotation - that may be what people have seen ... it may have been a funnel.

"We haven't had any visual evidence of anything touching the ground or a tornado. But, when on the weather front you have converging winds the conditions are favourable."

Mr Corbett said there will be possible hail and heavy downfalls over the course of the afternoon. In some places there may be downpours of 20-35mm.

MetService has a severe thunderstorm watch in place, with the thunderstorms moving southeastwards across Northland and into Auckland and western Waikato.

The forecaster warns there is a risk of damaging gusts in excess of 110km/h and possible small tornadoes.

Earlier this morning, Metservice issued a warning that the storm may reach a rainfall rate of 30mm per hour. There is a high risk of surface flooding and streams may rise rapidly.

People are advised to use their headlights and bring pets inside.

While the wet weather system is moving east, Auckland can still expect more damp conditions over the next couple of days.

Conditions will be slowly improving from tomorrow and through the weekend as the south west system comes through. However, showers will continue until Saturday morning.

>>Find out more on the NZ Herald

Topics:  auckland new zealand storm weather



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