Summer Storms

Sand, sea and sun are all part of the great Auckland summer but so too are storms, thanks largely to La Niña, part of the global climate cycle known as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO).

The ENSO cycle is driven by fluctuations in the water temperature in the Pacific Ocean, coupled with atmospheric changes. El Niño and La Niña are the extreme phases of the ENSO cycle; between these two phases is a third called ENSO-neutral, when the atmosphere and oceans are influenced by other climate drivers.

El Niño/La Niña occur every two to seven years and the impact of each depends on its intensity. During El Niño, New Zealand tends to experience stronger or more frequent winds from the west in summer, which can result in drier conditions in eastern areas and more rain in the west. In winter months, the winds tend to blow more from the south, causing colder temperatures across the country.

La Niña on the other hand, tends to bring warmer than average ocean and air temperatures for New Zealand.  This summer, the forecasts suggest we’ll experience a moderate to strong La Niña system and the most intense that we’ve seen in 10 years.  For Auckland, this will mean a more humid summer with heavy rain bursts and a chance of cyclones. It’s been a while since Auckland has experienced weather like this and there are a few simple things we can all do to be summer storm-ready.

Get Prepared

  • Be prepared – pay attention to weather forecasts, plan your travel around them and prepare yourself before the storm hits
  • Make a plan – make sure family, friends and flatmates know where to meet or what you’ll do in case of emergency
  • Fix any loose tiles on your roof, and any loose fence panels
  • Clear gutters and drains on your property, check trees for weak branches and bring the cat/dog/rabbit (or any other pets) inside
  • Have torches and batteries, a full gas bottle for your bbq and a battery-operated radio ready if the power goes out
  • If you need power to pump water or operate septic systems, make sure you have an alternate plan in place if the power goes out
  • If it is isolated where you live or you may get cut off, make sure you’ve got everything you need to keep going for a day or two and let us know if you need help (phone 0800 22 22 00)
  • Check on neighbours, especially those that are elderly or vulnerable and if you can’t help, alert emergency services
  • If you’re out and about, never drive through floodwaters and always drive to the conditions
  • If your property is at risk or your life is in danger, always dial 111 immediately
  • Report fallen trees, blocked drains or debris on public property to Auckland Council online or by calling 09 301 0101 

To stay up to date on weather events, follow MetService on Twitter (@MetService) or Facebook (@MetService) and Auckland Emergency Management on Twitter (@AucklandCDEM) or Facebook (@aklcdem)