The MetService this morning issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Horowhenua and the Kapiti Coast, saying accompanying wind and possible tornadoes could cause damage and make driving difficult.
Just after 4am, weather radar detected severe thunderstorms off the Manawatu coast, which were moving southeast towards Otaki and the southern Tararua ranges. They were expected to be accompanied by damaging wind gusts and possible tornadoes, the MetService said.
Meanwhile, a severe thunderstorm watch remains in force for Buller, Canterbury high country , Kapiti-Horowhenua, Manawatu, Nelson, Taranaki, Wanganui and Wellington.
People and cars were thrown into the air on Saturday when a tornado smashed its way across a highway in Kapiti and ripped through coastal settlements "like a 737 roaring past".
The tornado swept in from the Tasman Sea and crossed the Peka Peka coast near Waikanae shortly after 4pm, smashing into cars on State Highway 1. It then carved a 200m-wide path of destruction through lifestyle blocks, raining debris from ruined homes and farm buildings back on to the highway.
As well as the tornado, thunderstorms, heavy rain and strong winds also lashed much of the country from Waitomo to the west coast of the South Island.
The cold snap also brought a large dumping of snow to Treble Cone Skifield at Wanaka, bringing instability and a high risk of avalanche to some areas.
Snow closed the Lindis Pass on State Highway 8, along with SH94 between the Lower Hollyford turnoff and Milford Sound.
Lewis Pass and Arthurs Pass were also closed to trucks and other vehicles must have chains.
MetService said conditions eased yesterday morning but warned another very strong front was on the way bringing similar weather.
Four people were taken to Wellington and Lower Hutt hospitals with a variety of injuries from Saturday's tornado. Emergency services helped dozens of others with minor injuries and suffering shock.
Seven people were trapped in a home and another woman was injured when a tree crushed the caravan she was in.
Emergency services briefly sealed access to Waikanae and blocked SH1. Plumber David Kitchingham was taken to Hutt Hospital with glass embedded in his skin, but he was astonished to be alive. He pulled over on State Highway 1 about 2km north of Waikanae when heavy hail and poor visibility made it impossible to drive.
"I could see sheets of iron and debris, trees, just flashing past," he said. "There is a huge rumble, the van's shaking, then the next thing I know the van got picked up and tossed into a paddock 20 to 30 metres from where I pulled over.
"I remember going round and round, but whether I was going round and round in the air or round and round on the ground I'm not absolutely sure." The van was deposited on its side in a paddock on the other side of the double carriageway.