Stores were flooded and hail blanketed streets after a sudden storm hit Central Hawke's Bay yesterday.

The isolated storm hit just before 5pm last night, with thunder and lightning cracking overhead as the area was doused with rain and fire services were called out- before the sun emerged around 40 minutes later.

MetService Meteorologist Hannah Moes said the isolated storm had spread across Central Hawke's Bay (CHB) from the Western Ranges, and had been quite active.

Aside from some scattered rain, the rest of Hawke's Bay was left unscathed.

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Last night a CHB resident said thunder and lightning had started before "the heavens opened", flooding the area with rain and hail.

"The gutters started overflowing," she said, "and the stormwater was coming up in fountains.

"There was surface flooding across Porangahau rd...and Ruataniwha Rd."

The storm meant it was a busy evening for CHB fire services, who received five weather related call outs between 6pm and 6.30pm.

Waipukarau deputy chief fire officer Glen Millar said after the storm hit, they had two crews from Waipukarau busy, and called over teams from Waipawa in case the storm escalated.

A number of shops on Waipukarau's main street had reported flooding, so crews had worked to pump out water and help with salvaging. They also worked to preserve several homes which had also been affected.

A Fire Service spokesman said at its height there had been teams from Waipukarau, Waipawa, and some Civil Defence crews attending call-outs in the town.

TeAroha Cook of the Central Hawke's Bay District Council said they had experienced "significant amounts of hail, and water deluge" which had flooded areas of the town.

Along Ruataniwha St, fire service teams had been working to clear water from numerous shops, including Kiwibank, and Professionals Real Estate.

The "weather bomb" meant that "in terms of stormwater systems and everything else around the town and the district haven't been able to cope with the deluge, and there's been flooding all throughout the town, from commercial properties in the CBD to private dwellings," she said.

As suddenly as the storm hit, it had finished. About 40 minutes, the sun came out.

As the storm was isolated, Ms Moes said Metservice could not gauge how much rain had fallen, however rainfall rates associated with these types of storms were quite high.

The region featured on Metservice's thunderstorm outlook, which said a front brought a moderate risk of a few thunderstorms which had the potential to produce heavy rain with intensities of 15 to 25mm/hr.

After the storm, Waipukarau resident Richard Harding said his rainfall gauge measured that 10mls had fallen in ten minutes.

"It was pretty intense," he said, "I suspect we'll get them [storms] for the next few days."

This week was expected to be an unsettled one for the Bay, before weather became more spring-like, Ms Moes said.

Today would be fine with scattered showers developing in the afternoon, mainly inland. Some might be heavy with isolated thunderstorms and hail, clearing at night.

Northwesterlies were expected to develop tomorrow afternoon, with high cloud and rain developing at night.

Wednesday would bring scattered morning rain, before becoming fine, with strong, gusty northwesterlies and the week's high of 21C.

Cloud would increase on Thursday with scattered rain developing by afternoon with strong and gusty northwesterlies.

On Friday showers would be gradually easing with a southwest change.