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Flash floods drench Auckland's western suburbs

Published: 7:21AM Friday February 17, 2012 Source: ONE News

Emergency services were inundated with calls as flash floods wreaked havoc in parts of West Auckland, including at a primary school.

The Fire Service confirmed that an internal roof at Kaurilands Primary School collapsed but could give no further details. A specialist salvage unit was sent to the area.

Several homes and businesses were overwhelmed with water, along with several cars.

Freak thunderstorms raged across the city throughout the afternoon and night and ONE News received several reports of homes being inundated.

An apartment complex in Glen Eden was flooded and photos from the area show cars almost fully submerged.

Fire appliances were deployed across the west, including two units with industrial sized vacuums.

Power outages have been reported in Green Bay and Titirangi.

Warnings issued

MetService has issued thunderstorm warnings from Northland to Taupo.

The electrical activity forced flight delays at Auckland Airport and the wild weather brought down power lines.

One big thunderclap cracked a window and triggered fire alarms in several central Auckland buildings.

The violent thunder set off car and building alarms.

Parts of West Auckland were also without power this afternoon after lightning struck power lines in Riverhead. Local resident Andrea Frame said she heard a massive explosion when lightning hit her house.

The force of the strike caused a window to crack and cut electricity.

"The whole house shook like there was going to be an earthquake.

"I was on the computer at the time and the whole computer started smoking."

MetService says the storms can cause flash flooding and make driving extremely hazardous.

There is also a chance of heavy hail that may cause damage to vehicles in Wellsford and Mangawhai.

MetService says storms could affect many areas from Northland down to inland Taranaki and Taihape, Gisborne and Hawke's Bay.

Light winds mean the storms will move slowly and have the potential to produce localised downpours, with rainfall rates reaching 25-40mm/hr in some places.

The stormy weather is being created by a combination of warm, moist air and converging winds.

Check the forecast for where you live here

The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management advises that as storms approach you should:

- Take shelter, preferably indoors away from windows;
- Avoid sheltering under trees, if outside;
- Move cars under cover or away from trees;
- Secure any loose objects around your property;
- Check that drains and gutters are clear;
- Be ready to slow down or stop, if driving.

During and after the storm, you should also:

- Beware of fallen trees and power lines;
- Avoid streams and drains as you may be swept away in flash flooding.