In Aotearoa New Zealand, thunderstorms tend to be linked with strong fast-moving cold fronts moving from west to east. These can happen at any time of year, night or day. It could be also happen due to Southerly changes along the east coast, especially in Canterbury during the warmer part of the year.

MetService defines Severe Thunderstorms as those which produce:

  • Heavy rain
  • Large hail
  • Strong wind gusts
  • Damaging tornadoes


Prepare for thunderstorms

  • Develop a Whānau Emergency Plan. Use this template –  [Whānau Emergency Plan]
  • Prepare your Emergency Go Bag with food, water and other important supplies.
  • Take shelter and put vehicles under cover.
  • Secure outdoor items that may get blown away in strong winds.
  • Bring your pets inside.
  • Move livestock to secure paddocks that are sheltered, away from buildings, single trees and power lines.
  • Postpone outdoor activities and avoid travel if possible.

During thunderstorms

  • Listen to the news for weather updates.
  • Go inside and stay inside until it you hear from authorities that it is safe to head outside.
  • Secure windows, draw blinds and curtains, and close doors to protect your whare from damaging winds or flying objects.

After thunderstorms

  • Beware of fallen trees and power lines.
  • Avoid creeks, drains, and rivers in case heavy rain cause flooding.
  • Call 111 for life-threatening emergencies and if there are people needing to be rescued.