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Huge hail storm hits Bay of Plenty

Hail phenomenal

Hard to believe this is the Bay of Plenty.  An unreal hailstorm turns the beach resort in to a winter resort. Photo / Marion Lockwood

Large hail, thunderstorms and flash flooding have ripped across the Bay of Plenty community of Papamoa reports

Hail was so heavy it thickly covered the ground, closed roads and caused an evacuation at Bayfair Shopping Centre. reader Maria McVeigh said the hail storm lasted for about 40 minutes.  “This photo (above) was taken at around 11.40 am when the storm had been going for around 30 minutes. The thunder and lightening were raging the entire time, I have never seen anything like it in my life!”.

See Maria’s amazing photos from Papamoa in our Storm Gallery.

Have an eyewitness report?  Easily place a comment by clicking here.

Papamoa Hail

Size of Hail in Papamoa.  Photo / Sam Pachoud 

In the past 60 minutes over 1500 lightning strikes have been recorded by the Lightning Detector at most of which have been close to Mt Maunganui/Papamoa/Maketu.  Around 8400 have been detected around the North Island today. 

Thunderstorm numbers continue to swell around Bay of Plenty and now in King Country too.

Meanwhile reports are coming in about a potential funnel cloud or tornado north of Auckland north of Shelly Beach and water spouts off the Bay of Plenty coast.   (Have an eyewitness report?  Post a comment below)

The violent weather is being created by 1 of 3 deep low pressure systems circling New Zealand. The deepest and most aggressive of the lows is currently making landfall in Waikato.  Head weather analyst Philip Duncan says this explains the incredibly unstable conditions around the upper North Island.   “Torrential rain and thunderstorms also lie below the centre of this low just 50kms north of Taranaki with thunderstorms spreading across King Country, Central Plateau, and Bay of Plenty”.

Photos taken by mobile phone – hail that looks like snow in the normally sunny Bay of Plenty.  Photo / Glenn Roberts.

Mr Duncan says Taranaki, King Country, Central Plateau, Tauranga, East Cape, Auckland and Northland are all vulnerable to thunderstorms, hail and possible tornadoes today and again tomorrow.

Meanwhile the freak hail storm in Papamoa has closed a number of roads. reports there is severe surface flooding at the Mount and Papamoa due to heavy rain and hail.  Oceanbeach Road between Girvan Road and Concorde Avenue is closed.  Also affected are: State Highway 2 at Te Maunga and Papamoa Beach Road in the vicinity of Domain Road.

Ocean Beach Rd, Mt Maunganui

Ocean Road in Mt Maunganui is transformed into what looks like a glacier due to a freak hail storm around lunchtime and lasting at least an hour.  Photo / Raewyn Pamplin.

Motorists are advised to avoid these areas if at all possible and to use extreme care.

For the latest road conditions around Papamoa go to

The heavy downpour also caused an evacuation at Bayfair Shopping Centre.

Bayfair shopping centre was evacuated because of dangers posed by overflowing stormwater drains..and several homes in the Bayfair area also report flooding.  

See other Hail photos by clicking “Read more” below.


Do you have an eyewitness report?  Tell us about it by clicking here.

Storm in Mt Maunganui

 Maria McVeigh.Storm at Mt Maunganui!!!

Maria McVeigh.

Storm at Mt Maunganui

Maria McVeigh.

 Icebergs on Oceanbeach Road Uploaded by: Marion Lockwood

Hailstorm, Thunderstorm, all at onceUploaded by: Marion Lockwood
Waterspout off Maketu

Kim Easther

Thick hail remains on the street early this afternoon.  Photo sent by mobile phone / Glenn Roberts.

See the storm photos from today in our Storm Gallery.



Steve Wing on 12/05/2009 1:51pm

I was outside at 1:27 am this morning (13 may) and was a large meteor, from were i was standing it looked the size of 5 planes flying overhead except that it was going straight down with a tail. I live in redwood christchurch and it was out to the east from my place

Deborah Jeffray on 11/05/2009 10:26am

Don’t know if many know but we had exactly the same in Ohope. We took a ruler out and measured some hail on the road and it measured 12cm thick!
Wow! What a day! We have got some fabulous photos and videos as well. Our road was like a fast running river of breaking icebergs!

WW Forecast Team on 11/05/2009 10:47am

Please send us your pics! We’re very keen to see them.  It’s easy to upload them, just click this link here.

If you have any videos you can get in touch with us by using the Contact Us button at the top of the page and we can give you an email to send to.

Hope to see them! 

Kind Regards

The Team at WeatherWatch

Dan Batten on 11/05/2009 7:50am

Photos of hail storm in maketu today

Reyna on 11/05/2009 6:54am

I heard that Bayfair was evacuated and closed, because of the hail breaking the glass on the roof and getting flooded. I was at work at a packhouse in a tin shed, it was the most awesome as sound with all the hail hitting the tin.

David on 11/05/2009 6:43am

…Heard about it on the radio news around 3pm…one word to describe these pictures…and that water spout…
(another) WOW!

Guest on 11/05/2009 3:12am

. I lived in Papamoa for 10 years and still have a house there. I have never seen anything like this in the whole time we were there!! These are just amazing photos and news stories of the mount and papamoa, If i hadn’t seen the pics I would never have believed it!! Just amazing! We am now living in Port Hedland Western Australia, where it never rains and the temperatures reach 50, We are now on a comfortable 30. So it seems even more bizarre!!

Regards Colleen Anspach

Joanne Anspach on 11/05/2009 7:27am

Hey…I went past the house today because Kaleb wanted to make sure his Nan and Pop Pops house was not covered in snow!! It was not! The kids had a wonderful time playing in the snow/hail on Parton Rd.

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