An active front is zipping up the country today and it’s creating a lot of thunder, but mostly out at sea. As the front moves northwards tonight and clears the country overnight it will see these Tasman Sea thunderstorms and downpours crossing the North Island (and clearing the upper South Island this afternoon, with heavy showers remaining on the West Coast).
From what we can work out the main front (moving into Cook Strait mid afternoon) is bringing about 30 to 60 minutes of heavy rain and possible thunder. Behind it are showers, some squally.
The nature of this front means squally conditions (very windy with a burst of rain) are possible, especially in coastal places like Taranaki. A tornado is not out of the question, however they will be very isolated and at the smaller end of the scale. If one hits, quickly get into a windowless room and cover your body. Broken windows, fallen trees and lifted roofs are all risks with this type of weather – but balance that with the fact that these are mainly isolated and rural.
Despite the big downpours and thunderstorms not everyone will be exposed – with the front weakening somewhat as it moves into the North Island overnight. Thunder may be quite short lived too, unless the front slows down.
Today’s heavy downpours in the west will do little for the very dry conditions in parts of the east, with little relief expected today for farmers and growers there. But later in the week, or this weekend, there might be better chances for eastern rain.
The free & live lightning tracker(s) we display at WeatherWatch.co.nz show the front moving up the country, and how the ranges are stopping the thunderstorms from tracking eastwards.
– Image: 2:15pm screen-shot from here: www.weatherwatch.co.nz/lightning