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Electrical, Hail & Thunder Storm!

One of the most incredible thunder/hail storm in years blasted across Eastern Waikato, Western Bay of Plenty and Coromandel Peninsula Wednesday night – putting on the most spectacular electrical display for Aucklanders in recent memory.

At its peak around 1200 lightning flashes per hour were recorded in the upper North Island…for Aucklanders, they saw around 1 flash about every 5 seconds according to with lightning still visible well into Thursday morning.

Head Weather Analyst Philip Duncan says this was on a scale usually seen in ‘Tornado Alley’ in the central USA. issued tornado, hail and thunder warnings Wednesday afternoon and within 2 hours major hail and lightning storms were reported.

According to a water spout lifted a 31 foot launch near Great Barrier Island. “We had reported on Newstalk ZB after 10pm that the violent weather was near Great Barrier Island and that they would be in for a spectacular display of thunder and lightning… because of the earlier tornado warnings we had issued news of a water spout came as no surprise” said Mr Duncan. “This was a severe thunderstorm and we should be thankful it avoided popular places such as Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga”.

As of 1am the violent storm had moved well offshore clearing all land.


Below:  Looking out over the Hauraki Gulf about dusk. 

Photo by Steven W /

See MORE amazing photos by clicking “Read More” below. listener Bev sent in these 2 amazing photos, below, of the huge hail storm that passed over the Kaimai Ranges late on Wednesday afternoon, around an hour after the Weather Watch Centre issued an extreme warning to motorists driving there.

Lightning over Coromandel ranges

Above – “This pic was taken just north of the Kopu bridge near Thames at aprox 8pm after seeing a large CB forming” Photo: / Philip Brewer.








Top 3 photos, sent by Neill Ellis of Tauranga.  Below, by GraemeWi.

Upload your own photos here!


Freddy on 28/08/2009 11:50am

Although I’m an electrician, I’m afraid of lightning. Mother nature is just too powerful. I love the pictures.
Freddy Simpson – Dublin electrician

Anita on 17/01/2009 11:12pm

Hi, what an amazing display on Wednesday night! I watched it from Karaka for about 2 hours or so… but I have a question – would someone please explain what the horizontal rows of white lights were that I saw several of during the ‘show’ (they are shown quite clearly in some of the brilliant photos sent in).

Guest on 15/01/2009 2:34am

Me and my best mate drove to Kawakawa Bay from Papakura in south auckland, and saw the most spectacular electrical storm we have seen in our short life…We could see many flashes from papakura too.

Guest on 15/01/2009 1:28am

I enjoyed the show from my parents house which is on Waiheke overlooking to Coromandel, it was fantastic. The other thing that blew me away was the amount of shooting stars we saw last night it was incredible! I guess we dont usually spend so much time out at night just looking up so perhaps we dont usually notice them.

Guest on 14/01/2009 10:26pm

I so hope that someone captured photographs and uploads them of what we saw from the Bombay Hills. Without the city lights, the size of the cloud (e.g) in the first photo was totally lit up. We actually had at least three going off one after the other spread across the Drury/Ararimu/Bombay skyline. Just absoloute magic.

Guest on 14/01/2009 9:19pm

What I find even more amazing is that, as I view the comments, only 50% of those making them know how to spell ‘lightning’!

Claire on 14/01/2009 9:11pm

I am so disappointed I missed this! I sounds very much like the lightning storm I witnessed on the Sunshine Coast in November, just days after the huge storm that damaged several suburbs in Brisbane. I never thought we’d see anything like it in this country, though.

Andy Harwood on 14/01/2009 8:44pm

As a massive thunderstorm nut, I was in heaven last night. Finshed on-air at Coromandel FM at 6 and noticed a huge CB forming over the ranges and thought “wow, that wasn’t there an hour ago!” Got back to Tairua on the eastern side of the Coromandel at about 6:45 to heavy rain and fork lightening right over head. That eased but it then got progressively darker (and darker!) to the south. We then enjoyed amazing lightening and thunder as the main storm moved from the south and past us no more than a kilometer offshore. Lightening was still visible to the east and north when I hit the sack around 11:30. My sister is over from Brisbane and she said it was nothing on what they’ve had there recently. Reading your reports Phillip I can now say that it was! The photo’s are amazing too, may try upload some of mine if I get a chance.



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