A man is standing in front of a flooded house, struggling with an inside-out umbrella. There is lightening, heavy rain and trees bent by severe wind in the background.

Te Huarere Taikaha Severe Weather

The Wellington Region often experiences severe weather events such as severe winds, heavy rain, thunderstorms, heavy swells, and road snowfall on the Remutaka Hill. These events have the potential to cause significant damage and disruption. Heavy rain can cause river levels to rise, which can result in flooding
Severe weather watches and warnings are issued by www.metservice.com    

Get prepared for severe weather and storms


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  • Keep up to date with weather forecasts by visiting MetService.com.  
  • A good first step to ensure you are prepared for a severe weather event is to create a plan - identify a safe place in your home to gather during a thunderstorm. This should be a place where there are no windows, skylights or glass doors. These could break during a thunderstorm and cause injury. 
  • Strong winds can lift large, heavy objects and send them crashing into homes. You should regularly inspect and trim trees and shrubbery. 
  • Have materials and tools ready to repair damage to windows, such as tarpaulins, boards, and duct tape.  
  • If you have livestock ensure they are moved to a safe place away from floodwaters, landslides, powerlines and isolated trees.  
  • Visit our Emergency Supplies page to find out what you may need.  
  • Review your insurance regularly. Having insurance cover for your home and contents is important to help you get back on your feet if you suffer damage in a disaster. 


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  • When a storm is forecast you should tie down, or bring inside, anything that strong winds could pick up or break. If you have a trampoline, turn it upside down to minimise the surface area exposed to wind.  
  • Remove any debris or loose items, such as branches and firewood, from around your property. Bring pets indoors as they can become unsettled during a storm.  
  • Check on your neighbours and anyone who may need help.  
  • When a storm occurs, stay inside and don't drive unless absolutely necessary. Close all windows and doors and pull curtains and blinds over windows where possible.  
  • Stay informed: Follow the instructions of emergency services. Listen to radio and follow our Facebook page WREMOnz and Twitter WREMOinfo
  • Avoid bathtubs, water taps, and sinks. Metal pipes and plumbing can conduct electricity if struck by lightning. Use your water from your emergency supplies. 
  • Unplug small appliances that may be affected by electrical power surges. If you lose power, unplug major appliances. This will reduce the power surge and possible damage when power is restored.


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  • Continue listening to the radio and follow us on facebook and Twitter for further information. Check for injuries and get first aid if necessary. Help others if you can.  
  • Contact your local council if your house or building has been severely damaged. Ask your council for advice on how to clean up debris safely.  
  • Stay alert for extended rainfall, flooding, landslides and hazardous debris, particularly while driving. 

If your property is damaged: 

  • Do not do anything that puts your safety at risk or causes more damage to your property. 
  • Contact your insurance company as soon as possible. 
  • If you rent your property, contact your landlord and your contents insurance company. 
  • Take photos of any damage. It will help speed up assessments of your claims

Types of severe weather:

Severe Wind 

  • Living in one of the windiest cities in the world, it's important to prepare your property for high winds! In the Wellington Region, the North and South Island mountain ranges funnel winds through the Cook Strait producing the region’s notorious winds.  
  • Parts of the region may become isolated by flooding, landslides or even high winds closing roads and other access points. Storms can damage utilities, particularly power lines, or cause transport accidents. 
  • Severe gusts of wind can be dangerous to people and cause significant damage to buildings and property. It can cause trees and powerlines to fall, large objects such as trampolines to flip, and can make driving on roads hazardous, particularly for large vehicles.
  • MetService will issue a wind warning for severe gales with a minimum mean speed of 90km/hr or frequent gusts exceeding 110km/hr.

Heavy Rain  

  • Heavy rain that continues for a long time can cause streams and rivers to rise rapidly, which can lead to landslides and flooding.
  • Heavy rain can also cause stormwater drains begin to overflow which could flood roads and footpaths.
  • MetService will issue a severe weather warning when it is expected there will be widespread rainfall greater than 50mm within 6 hours, or 100mm within 24 hours.  

Road Snowfall  

  • MetService will issue a Road Snowfall Warning for Remutaka Hill Road (SH2) whenever there is a likelihood of snow settling on the road within the next 24 hours.
  • This warning provides information regarding expected weather conditions. It will not contain information about current road conditions or about the amount of snow currently lying on any road. 


Thunderstorms are short-lived weather events, lasting up to a couple of hours. They may cause lightening along with heavy rain, hail and localised severe winds. MetService classifies a thunderstorm as severe, and will issue a warning, if one or more of the following criteria are met: 

  • Heavy rain from thunderstorms of 25mm/h or more. 
  • Large hail of 20mm diameter or more. 
  • Strong wind gusts from thunderstorms of 110km/hr (60 knots) or more. 
  • Damaging tornadoes with wind speeds more than 116km/hr (63 knots) - i.e. Fujita F1 or stronger. 

Heavy Swells

MetService will publish a Heavy Swell Warning whenever there is an expectation that any of the criteria will occur within the next 24-48 hours. 

The Kapiti-Porirua coast from Ōtaki to Cape Terawhiti: 

  • Combined waves of significant height 4 metres or greater from the westerly quarter (NW-SW) are expected to occur. 

The Wellington south coast from Cape Terawhiti to Turakirae Head: 

  • Swell of 4 metres or more with a period of 14 seconds or more (from the southerly quarter) coinciding with high tide. 
  • Or combined waves of 6 metres or more (from the southerly quarter) coinciding with high tide. 

The Wairarapa coast from Turakirae Head to Maitakona: 

  • Swell of 4 metres or more with a period of 14 seconds or more, coinciding with high tide. 
  • Or significant combined waves of 6 metres or more coinciding with high-tide. 

Swell warnings are issued for other selected parts of the New Zealand coast by arrangement with Regional Councils and do not currently appear on the MetService website.