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Thunder and lightning have been rattling residents in the northern half of the North Island today as humid a sub-tropical system continues to spill over the country and fresh wave of thunderstorms is now moving back in.

Several thousand strikes have been recorded so far today by the Weather Watch Centre’s lightning radar and in the past hour they have increased along the Taranaki coast.

(picture shows lightning strikes…each spot/colour shows a new strike)

Head weather analyst Philip Duncan says latest rain radar shows some heavy rain and shower activity moving down from the north and in from the west over the North Island.  “Taranaki, Waikato, Auckland and Northland are in the firing line this afternoon with Coromandel, Bay of Plenty and Central Plateau later today”.

Mr Duncan says further thunder and lightning is likely overnight in some North Island areas with another surge of activity in western areas during Sunday afternoon, however that is likely to be less intense.

“At 1pm it was 19 degrees in Whangarei and Auckland and a number of places will reach into the early 20s.  It really is quite Spring like and it’s this extra warmth that’s causing the thunderstorms”.

Conditions in the South Island are much colder with parts of Central Otago only a few degrees warm.

And Mr Duncan says the next big winter storm is on the way.  “It’s been 2 weeks since the last one rolled through and this one could be particularly short and sharp”.  

“Snow is likely in Queenstown and other parts of Otago and Southland with some good dumps for the ski fields”.

Forecasting company Blue Skies is expecting snow to very low levels next week as a southerly blast moves in.  Blue Skies expects snow to fall to a couple of hundred metres as far north as Canterbury accompanied by winds near gale force.

Strong winds are expected to play a big part in the next storm with gales, possibly severe right across the South Island and lower North Island.

State forecaster MetService is also warning of gales from Southland to Wairarapa on Monday or Tuesday and they have “moderate confidence” of heavy rain along the West Coast.  For the latest Government weather warnings go to and click on the “Weather” button.


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