Thunderstorms continue to rumble across northern New Zealand this afternoon with almost 1300 strikes picked up by the Lightning Tracker at WeatherWatch.co.nz in the past hour.
Most of the storms are now running along Northland’s east coast, north Auckland and the Hauraki Gulf and are beginning to clear land as they head eastwards.
A few isolated thunderstorms remain over northern Taranaki and Waikato.
The low that’s responsible for the humid weather over northern New Zealand has barely moved in the past 24 hours and will continue to feed bands of heavy showers across northern centres of the country for the next day or so.
Head weather analyst Philip Duncan says more thunderstorms are on the way tonight. “The lightning tracker clearly shows thunderstorms off the west coast in the Tasman Sea circling closer to the centre of the low. As that centre drifts towards Taranaki tonight it will shift those heavy showers on to land, affecting the same regions as today”.
The unstable conditions have prompted MetService to issue a severe thunderstorm watch for western and northern Taranaki this afternoon. “About northern and western Taranaki, between about Awakino and Opunake, a few of these thunderstorms may be severe this afternoon, bringing brief heavy rain,
hail, squally wind gusts, and possibly one or two small but damaging tornados”.
“These squally winds and possible small tornadoes may cause some structural damage, including damage to trees and power lines, and make driving hazardous. If any tornadoes occur, they will only affect very localised areas” says MetService.
Latest rain radar shows the rain bands are heavy enough to produce hail and Philip Duncan believes there is a risk of tornadoes in other centres too.
“We’re seeing a large low in the Tasman Sea moving very slowly eastwards and producing unstable weather patterns. These heavy showers and thunderstorms may produce tornadoes or squall lines, like we saw south of Auckland yesterday, that may produce isolated but sudden gales from Taranaki to Northland”.
In Auckland skies are starting to clear with weatherwatch.co.nz’s independent Auckland forecasts predicting conditions to improve this afternoon but heavy showers, some with thunder, will return overnight.
WeatherWatch.co.nz advises that the downpours in both Northland and Taranaki will be heavy and slow moving and may cause surface or flash flooding and make driving difficult.
Check back across this afternoon as WeatherWatch will have regular updates on the thunderstorms.
on 29/09/2009 2:57am
In the last 15mins we have had the first taste of a thunder storm rumbling over us, just South of Hamilton. A brief bit of hard rain, a few loud claps, a couple of lightening and it was all over. Maybe the next one will be more exciting ha ha. Still and calm again now
on 29/09/2009 2:28am
We are getting heavy rain here in South Auckland.
on 29/09/2009 2:12am
Yet again us westies miss out on all the thunder…Dark Raining and thats all.
on 29/09/2009 1:53am
Torrential rain here on the North Shore with the occasional clap thunder. Very dark outside.
on 29/09/2009 1:32am
Dull and cool greeted most this morning.. patches of light drizzle around the region.
on 29/09/2009 1:15am
Not a lot happening here, wind has got up a bit and lots of high cloud, but no rain and no storm (yet!)