May 5, 2011

In the Severe Thunderstorm Outlook for Friday 6 May, MetService has included the possibility of tornadoes over northern New Zealand, including the Auckland area.

“Only a few days after the Albany tornado, several lines of thundery showers are expected to cross the north and west of the North Island. As of now, tomorrow ticks all the boxes. Unlike Tuesday, we can already identify tornado potential in these lines of showers,” commented MetService Chief Forecaster Peter Kreft.

“We must emphasise that right now, we are not able to be more specific about the likelihood, location or timing of any tornadoes at this early stage,” said Kreft.

“If tornadoes and/or severe thunderstorms look increasingly likely as time progresses today and into Friday, we will issue a Severe Thunderstorm Watch or Severe Thunderstorm Warning to provide more specific information. These are both special types of communication, part of the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management’s National Warning System. Both of these forecasts are available on and by email, and to emergency managers and others via SMS.”

“It will be important to stay up to date.”

In New Zealand, tornadoes are rare and mostly last for only a few minutes, affecting very small areas. So on Friday they could easily occur over farmland, forest or the sea without anyone noticing them at the time.

It’s very important that you know what to do to keep yourself safe. The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management  provides excellent advice:

  • If you see a tornado nearby or feel threatened by the weather, take shelter immediately. If the threat is further away, help alert others.
  • If inside a building, move to the lowest floor possible and to an interior room (without windows or exterior door). Get under sturdy furniture or a door frame.
  • If outdoors, get away from trees if possible. Lie down flat in a gully, ditch or low spot on the ground to avoid flying debris. Protect your head with your arms.
  • If you are in a car, do not try to outrun the tornado – get out and away from the car and lie down flat as above (do not lie under your car).

For more information look under ‘Storms’ on the ‘Get Ready Get Through’ website:

For further information please contact:
Peter Kreft        Chief Forecaster                  (04)4700 806

(C) Copyright Meteorological Service of New Zealand Ltd 2011

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