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.

PHOTOS: Canterbury's dramatic severe thunderstorms

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A violent and seemingly neverending thunderstorm rattled much of Canterbury yesterday causing damage, damaging expensive weather equipment and creating a surge in viewers to the Lightning Tracker.

At its peak over 1000 lightning strikes per hour were being detected over Canterbury.

Photographers across the region chased the storms and brings you just some of their images below.

Thunderstorms knock out rain radar...again

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As it did north west of Auckland the other day the rain radar has gone offline, cancelling severe thunderstorm warnings.

MetService: Lightning from this afternoons thunderstorms has affected communications with the Canterbury weather radar, and images are not presently being received at MetService. No further severe thunderstorm warnings will be issued unless communication with the radar is restored. At present (6pm) the thunderstorm activity is north of Christchurch. Refer to the Severe Thunderstorm Watch for further detail.

Earlier story... confirms that “golf ball size” hail fell in parts of Canterbury earlier today...

21 severe weather warnings issued

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A low with all the characteristics of a spring storm is quickly moving towards the country and will bring severe weather to both islands says 

MetService has today issued 21 severe weather warnings covering both heavy rain and severe gales.

Photos: Friday's floods north west of Auckland

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Several photos taken on Friday evening after a deluge caused by a severe thunderstorm flooded rivers and roads north west of Auckland around Kaipara. 

All photos by Lawrence Hill - thank you Lawrence.

Flooding cuts Coromandel roads

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Some parts of the Coromandel Peninsula are still cut off by flooding following torrential downpours over parts of the North Island.

Hahei and the Hot Water Beach area were cut off by flooding on Hot Water Beach Rd 200m from State Highway 25.

Roading crews were trying to reopen the road but there was not time frame for reopening.