Some of the most spectacular thunder heard in years boomed, rumbled and exploded across large parts of Auckland overnight as a small but highly active area of rain and thunderstorms moved in from the Tasman Sea.
The thunderstorms and torrential rain, which rapidly formed on Friday evening, aimed mostly at Auckland but also affected southern Northland and parts of Waikato.
Shortly before the line of thunderstorms made landfall the strike rate was over 1000 an hour according to the Lightning Tracker displayed at WeatherWatch.co.nz. It weakened a fair amount soon after making landfall.
“That thunder was intense! 30 seconds long with three massive bangs in the middle of it. Lightning almost blinded me” wrote Mandy Humphrey-Towler on WeatherWatch.co.nz’s Facebook page.
“I Saw it strike the sky tower 10 minutes ago!” wrote Andrew Francis.
Meanwhile another reader, Wiremu McCord wrote “Very bright lightening and violent thunder in Mangere, waking all the kids”
Head weather analyst Philip Duncan says it was the best thunder he’s heard in Auckland for over a decade at least. “As someone who loves a good thunderstorm this was one of the better for me. So many thunderstorms die out before they reach Auckland, but this one didn’t start to ease until it reached a number of suburbs west of State Highway One”.
“Of course saying this was the ‘best’ thunder is entirely subjective, but judging by the comments on our Twitter and Facebook pages I’d say many others agree”.
Mr Duncan described the thunder as continuous at times, very loud, and on a couple of occasions “like a rocket in the distance that was backfiring”.
Thunder booms set off car alarms in West Auckland followed by torrential rain which, at times, was as loud as the thunder.
“Attention white water rafters: My driveway is now available….” wrote Geoff Blackmore of Swanson, West Auckland, on our Facebook page.
WeatherWatch.co.nz says there is another risk of thunder on Sunday and into Monday as a big low moves in, but any possible activity was expected to be less spectacular overall for Auckland.