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North Island rumbles as South Island braces for cold

Big booms of thunder rattled homes across parts of the North Island last night and a small tornado damaged properties in Bay of Plenty as the main belt of thunderstorms on the leading edge of a large low pushed across the country.

Some of the thunder hot spots were parts of Auckland, Taranaki, Northland, Coromandel Peninsula and Bay of Plenty.  Thunderstorms popped up in other North Island regions as far south as Wellington.

The lightning tracker at has had its busiest 24 hour period this year with literally thousands of thunderstorms over the past 24 hours, mostly around the eastern Tasman Sea and upper North Island.

Late yesterday MetService issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for northern Auckland as a belt of big storms moved through delivering torrential rain and hail right on rush hour.

On Sunday predicted a “high chance” for isolated tornados across Monday and early Tuesday as the “explosive” weather moved through – it’s the first time the forecaster has made such a strong prediction regarding tornados. 

Yesterday morning a large waterspout brushed the Taranaki coastline and this morning the Bay of Plenty Times is reporting roofing tiles were lifted by a tornado which brushed the beach at Papamoa andcaused minor damage to several properties. said the risk for tornados was high but stressed that the risk for damage to property was considered low overall.

Meanwhile the South Island is expected to feature more in the weather news headlines over the coming 24  hours as the main low pushes out to the south east of Dunedin.  The centre of the low tracked over the lower South Island late yesterday and overnight.

Several cold fronts, each one colder than the last, will start to spread across the country, especially the lower South island where predicts snow down to 300 metres tonight with hail showers to sea level.

However the main centres are expected to escape snow complications with no snow predicted for any of the main centres including Queenstown.

Wednesday is predicted to be the coldest day of the week from this system for most places as the cold air pushes into the North Island with a strong south west flow.  Showers will start to become more eastern and southern focused while western and northern New Zealand will see the heavy showers easing and longer sunny spells developing on Thursday.

Off and on windy weather is in store for most places until the end of the week.



Rachel Jennings on 15/05/2012 2:41am

Gawd is MN in a bad mood or what!? Any chance of thunder for inland South Canterbury?

LM on 15/05/2012 2:29am

The snow level on the mountains around Queentown was lower this morning than yesterday. Hail to sea level can happen from thunderstorms any time of the year, not just from a cold snap. It’s very cool in Invercargill but only light winds so far. It looks like the airport had a dumping from a big cloud over that way.

Andrew on 15/05/2012 12:40am

Now that’s a really good summary of what’s happened and what’s in store. No OTT language there at all!
BTW, plenty of lightning could be seen to the north from Mapua last night but too far away for any rumbles. A dusting of snow on Mt Arthur but nothing on the Richmond Ranges as yet.

WW Forecast Team on 15/05/2012 2:26am

Thanks for the honest feedback Andrew – and for the update – much appreciated!

– WW

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