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Severe thunderstorms amaze forecasters

Yesterday’s severe thunderstorms were predicted by MetService but the size of the storms amazed forecasters.

Head weather analyst Philip Duncan says the strength of the storms wasn’t out of character for mid Summer but the widespread nature was.  “ recorded over 22,000 lightning strikes in the 24 hours of Tuesday and most of those storms were centered over the North Island.  We were discussing this last night and it’s the first time we can recall such widespread severe storms”.

“These storms will more than likely be remembered in an historical sense”

Mr Duncan says the storms peaked in the late afternoon at over 2600 lightning strikes per hour.  “That is an incredibly high rate and what makes it even more violent was the fact that most of the storms were centred over the King Country/Waitomo and South Waikato regions”.

In total several regions were affected by the severe thunderstorms with MetService severe forecasters working a long day.  Waikato, Rotorua, Ruapehu, Taranaki, Tararua, Gisborne, Central Hawkes and Manawatu all had Severe Thunderstorm Warnings posted during at least one time on Tuesday.


robh on 27/01/2010 1:26am

Got some pictures of cumulonimbus over the north of Wellington last night (and as the Met Service also noted stratus drifting over Wellington harbour at the same time.) I am no weather expert but I think there was some cirrus too – what a mixture! Was waiting for the crash flash and rumble but it didn’t come though it seems it might be saving it for tonight! All set to submit photos from last night and take some more of the mist over Wellington harbour this morning and guess what- brought my camera but had left the SD card at home after uploading something else! So later……

Kyle on 26/01/2010 6:38pm

Hi there,
I have been looking everywhere on the news sites for any info on these storms, and see absolutely nothing?!
If a mild storm had caught some part of auckland, all the news bulletins would have been covering this. But as it was Hamilton south, I can’t find anything.
Thanks for your article on it guys, keep it up.
Also, just wondering if there are more pics to be received/uploaded on to the site? I would really love to see some, and I’m sure a lot of others would as well.

WW Forecast Team on 26/01/2010 8:14pm

Hi Kyle, couldn’t agree more – this is the reason why WeatherWatch was started in the first place as so many media outlets seemed to miss out on running good weather stories.  We provided updates until 1am this morning!  And while this morning may be a little quiet we expect the afternoon and evening to be busy again.

We hope to receive some more photos this morning.


Philip Duncan

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