MetService red warnings directly to mobile

The MetService app's notifications feature sends an alert if a severe storm is on its way. Photo:...
The MetService app's notifications feature sends an alert if a severe storm is on its way. Photo: RNZ
Following a frigid couple of days, summer looks set to resume in the southern regions today.

Give or take a few showers over the weekend, temperatures are forecast to rise towards 30°C again mid-week for inland areas.

The return of hot, dry weather comes as the MetService launches new mobile notifications for red warnings — New Zealand's most extreme environmental conditions — and teams up with Fire and Emergency New Zealand to provide notifications when there is an extreme fire risk.

MetService weather communication head Lisa Murray said the partnership would help New Zealanders be aware of, and ready for, the most extreme conditions.

"Getting notifications directly into the hands, or pockets, of those likely to be impacted is the most direct way we can warn people.

"With climate change and more extreme weather events, this tool is really helping us better prepare Aotearoa New Zealand for a more extreme wildfire and weather environment."

Fenz wildfire specialist Rory Renwick encourage everyone to download the app and heed the advice when notifications were received.

"It may be best to postpone a fire or any activity which could cause sparks.

"Always check further on It’s also a good prompt to prepare your property should a wildfire occur.

"Weather conditions are one of the main factors that impact fire risk.

"This makes it the perfect place for our extreme fire danger notifications."

He said the location-specific notifications for extreme fire danger would be triggered when Fenz’s fire weather system calculated the fire danger to be at its highest level — extreme — where fire intensities and spread rates were likely to make a wildfire extremely dangerous.

They would be sent in the morning and would provide that day’s timeframe for when fire danger would be extreme and spark-causing activities, including lighting fires, should be avoided.

MetService red warnings would be triggered when significant and impactful heavy rain, strong winds, heavy snow or severe thunderstorms were forecast for the day and could have life-threatening impacts, Ms Murray said.

"When a severe thunderstorm has been detected on one of our weather radars, a red warning notification will be triggered.

"Warning time is therefore much shorter than with other types of red warning weather, but a heads-up will likely be signalled earlier in the day by a severe thunderstorm watch issued by our forecasters."

She said the notifications had been "some time in the making" and followed a successful testing phase with members of the public to ensure ease of use and no false alerting.

"It is close to a year since the devastating Auckland Anniversary flooding, followed closely by Cyclone Gabrielle.

"These notifications are one of the steps we’re taking to warn more Kiwis of dangerous weather," she said.