Auckland storm and tornado

Date

4BC Afternoons: Three people have been killed and at least seven injured after a tornado hit Auckland, New Zealand's largest city.

A Fire Service spokesman said two were killed when a concrete slab landed on a truck on St George's Road in Hobsonville, in the city's northwest.

Photo Gallery: Photos from the storm.

Moyd and Loretta cross to News Talk ZB in New Zealand to find out about the tornado and with fires burning in Helidon and Burpengary they speak with the Rural Firies to see what is happening.

Listen: NewtalkZB's Lesley Deverall with Moyd and Loretta

It is understood another person was also killed at the site, where a new high school is being built.

A shaken construction worker, Sam Nuthall, said he saw big dark clouds and thought it would just be a rainstorm but was forced to shelter between a block wall and a truck.

"You couldn't see it coming ... there was debris flying everywhere, steel getting thrown around," he told Radio New Zealand.

There were 50 to 80 people on the site and there were a few "pretty bad" injuries after the tornado struck at about 12.15pm (1015 AEDT), he said.

The Hobsonville Point secondary school, due to open in 2014, and Hawkins Construction spokesman Hamish Anderson told AAP the company was still gathering information on the disaster.

He couldn't confirm the deaths.

Watch: Amateur video of the tornado by Tony Martin

Whenuapai resident Suzanne McFadden told 3News it was "five minutes of utter devastation".

"It got very muggy, very still," she said.

"Suddenly the sky went very, very black, almost like night, and a huge wind came across the river.

"It ripped century-old pine trees out of the ground, it's taken roofs off houses, it's crushed cars and boats.

"The main street of our village looks like a bomb's gone off, and we're all very aware that it could turn around and another one could strike."

The Fire Service spokesman said there were reports of people trapped in buildings.

An ambulance spokeswoman said it was dealing with seven injured people.

Police have set up an operations base at Whenuapai and are advising motorists to be wary of flooding and drive to the conditions.

Some bus services have been stopped.

State Highway 18 and a number of roads in the area are closed.

Weatherwatch.co.nz says another band of thunderstorms and torrential downpours is moving into the area.

"We are advising people to remain indoors until the torrential rain and possible thunder has passed, most likely over the next hour or two," head weather analyst Philip Duncan said.

A thunderstorm warning is also in place for Waikato.

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