More than 1500 lightning strikes overnight

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There were over 1500 lightning strikes over the Auckland and Waikato region last night and this morning but most struck the sea, west of the North Island.

MetService forecaster Chris Noble said a front went over the North Island last night bringing thunderstorms and squally showers and was still hanging around Waitomo this morning.

"A lot of those were actually off-shore over the water. What tends to happen is that the thunderstorms tend to feed off the warmer sea surface temperatures.

"Basically, thunderstorms need moisture to survive and they need it to be relatively warm in the low levels just to get the buoyancy and as they move on-shore, they tend to die," Mr Noble said.

The number of strikes last night pales in comparison to the big storms experienced by the country in the last month when over 10,000 strikes hit New Zealand.

"That helps put it in perspective. At the moment, nationwide in the last 12 hours, there have been 2000 strikes and that includes about 500km off-shore," Mr Noble said.

He said only about 100 lightning strikes would have hit land.

- NZHERALD STAFF

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