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Tornado lifts roofs in N.I., thunderstorms across N.Z.


A possible tornado or squall has blown off roofs in Opunake township in south Taranaki overnight while the same front brought booming thunder to Auckland 6 hours later at 2am.  Meanwhile thunderstorms have affected Christchurch, Wellington, Hutt Valley and other regions in between overnight with reports now in of a large thunderstorm for the past hour in Invercargill.’s Invercargill reporter, Malcolm Gayfer, says the thunderstorm has been raging for over an hour and is something he hasn’t seen in the area in a long time.

Further north and Taranaki Fire Communications Shift Manager Mike Wanoa says they received four reports of damage to houses last night, including windows which have blown out and roofs which have lifted off. He says fire crews are using tarpaulins to deal with the damage.

Hundreds of lightning strikes affected both islands of New Zealand overnight.

At 8pm last night 443 strikes had been recorded in 60 minutes by the Lightning Tracker at

According to the tracker there was a large concentration of thunderstorms around Taranaki, Wanganui, the Wellington region and close to Christchurch.

At 2am that number had dropped to 116 strikes in 60 minutes, mostly around Auckland. exclusively predicted the risk of thunder in Auckland overnight although did rate the chances as ‘low’ due to the narrowness of the band heading north.

Torrential showers and hail also affected Auckland overnight.

As of 6:30 this morning lightning strikes had increased to 169 in the past hour showing most activity was in Southland, Fiordland and off the North Island’s west coast. 

MetService currently predicts a low risk of thunderstorms between Taranaki and coastal Waikato.


Is there thunder where you are?  Post a comment and your location below!


Anita on 22/07/2009 8:28pm

We were woken in the night with the most extreme wind we have ever heard………it was’nt gusty it was a gail, I thought the house was going to blow down.
The wind was soon followed by a downpour and massive massive rolls of thunder that seemed not to end before they started again. A scary night.

Diana on 22/07/2009 1:21am

From about mid afternoon the winds really picked up, planes had a lot of cross winds to contend with. Last night saw an increase, some properties experienced broken branches off trees. Just as much havoc was seen on the roads as well, with fire siren/hooters being heard in the distance. No lightening flashes, but heavy rain once again hit the pavements and danced on the roof

Simon on 22/07/2009 12:40am

The Strike at just past 2 am and the resulting thunder was the biggest ever experienced
The flash woke me up and I didn’t even get to the t in two before the bang so it must have been very close to us in West Harbour

Guest on 21/07/2009 7:31pm

It was a big one! we all felt it down here in invers.

Chris B on 21/07/2009 11:49am

Well, I have seen a few flashes of lightning out west from Lower Hutt. Last flash I saw was around 23:15 but haven’t looked since…not properly anyway!

ato2 on 21/07/2009 11:17am

I live in New Plymouth itself. No showers or strong winds around my area.

Kelly on 23/07/2009 6:24am

I also live in New Plymouth and there was massive lightning displays just off port taranaki but nothing onland at all didn’t hear the thunder but saw the flashes

JohnGaul on 21/07/2009 10:58am

I saw some flashes.


mike Guest on 21/07/2009 9:51am

thunder storm began at 2015 heavy rain sporadic hail up to pea size consistent cloud to cloud strikes & a few very impressive ground strikes close by which took out the power for a few minutes 2145 things easing as it appears to be moving north understand opunake took on a tornado

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