Severe thunderstorms finally ease but Wednesday is Groundhog Day

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All warnings have now been lifted following a dramatic day in the skies above the central North Island but Wednesday is shaping up to be Groundhog Day with a near identical outlook in place. says more storms are likely from late this morning/noon across the Central North Island.

More details from 5am...

See a photo below of the thunderstorm over Taranaki yesterday afternoon.

Have photos of Tuesday's dramatic weather?  Use the simple upload link here.

Lightning strikes reach over 1500 in the past hour

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Severe thunderstorm watches were this morning issued for a number of regions across both islands and in the past hour 1569 lightning strikes have been picked up by the Lightning Tracker.

Thunderstorm Watches, which indicate severe thunderstorms are likely to develop in the coming hours, cover several regions including those affected by thunderstorms yesterday.

PHOTOS: Thunder clouds over central North Island

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Yesterdays incredible thunderstorm rattled much of the Waikato and Central Plateau regions.

Most of the severe thunderstorms occurred in remote areas however the storms did brush Reporoa, near Rotorua.  The images below were captured by photographer Trish Bailey.

Today more thunderstorms are forecast with an even larger area exposed to the unstable conditions. 

If you have photos of yesterdays thunderstorms, or if you get some from this afternoons forecast build ups - use our simple photo upload link and share them with other readers!

Thunderstorm risk even greater for today

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Warm humid conditions and sea breeze wind convergences are expected to trigger showers again over inland parts of the North Island today says MetService.

These are expected to be heavy, with a high risk of thunderstorms from inland Waikato down to Taranaki, across to inland Bay of Plenty and the ranges of Gisborne down to about Palmerston North. says the area for thunderstorm risk is even greater than yesterday.  Head weather analyst Philip Duncan says yesterday's thunderstorms were on a scale not often seen in New Zealand.  "We don't often see such a large area affected by severe thunderstorms.  We're having a small taste of what Americans often see in the midwest".

Read more below...

See the live Lightning Tracker here.

Severe thunderstorm warnings lifted.

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Thunderstorms across the North Island have eased.

However, until late evening, there could still be some localised heavy falls about the central North Island from ordinary thunderstorms.

Thunderstorms in the area are no longer severe. However, until late evening, there could still be some localised heavy falls about the central North Island from ordinary thunderstorms

Thunderstorm Watch issued for central North Island

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This watch affects people in the following weather forecast districts:
Waikato, Waitomo, Taumarunui, Bay Of Plenty, Rotorua, Taupo, Taihape.

See the live and free Lightning Tracker here

Have photos of the thunderstorms?  Upload them here

Thunderstorms are expected to develop in inland Bay of Plenty, Taupo, Taihape, Taumaranui, and eastern parts of Waitomo and Waikato this afternoon and evening...

Napier-Taupo road blocked by slip

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A large slip has partially blocked the Napier-Taupo Road (State Highway 5) near the Titiokura Summit following heavy rain that has lashed the region in the past 24 hours.

The slip which happened this morning has reduced the three lane highway to one lane. Police advised motorists to negotiate the slip with care and be aware of oncoming traffic.

Severe thunderstorm warning lifted

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Severe Thunderstorm Warning has been lifted for Invercargill radar area.

The severe thunderstorm activity over inland Southland and South Otago has now eased, however there may still be a few further weaker storms until about 8pm this evening.

Scattered rain will continue to affect Southland and South Otago tonight.

Thunderstorms on the way for all of New Zealand

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New Zealand is in the line for thunderstorms this afternoon, evening and again tomorrow as the first Tasman Sea low of the year brings hot, humid and unstable weather conditions to the country.

Head weather analyst Philip Duncan says afternoon heating will produce thunderstorms later today across inland parts of New Zealand while a cold front coming in from the Tasman Sea has the potential to bring damaging thunderstorms to some western and northern regions today and tomorrow.

Story continues below, also MetService maps of thunderstorm risks for today and tomorrow...

See the live and free Lightning Tracker here

NEW PHOTOS: Funnel appears from thunderstorm

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Yesterday's severe thunderstorm produced a dramatic funnel cloud, captured here exclusively by Ben Rodriguez. 

Ben says the storm was near Darfield, Canterbury.

Thunder from yesterday's storms went non-stop for 7 hours in some places with thousands of lightning strikes detected by the Christchurch lightning tracker.