Severe thunderstorm warnings have been issued for numerous parts of the central North Island this afternoon.

Metservice said in a statement that its weather radar had detected severe thunderstorms accompanied by very heavy rain has issued warnings for Palmerston North city, central Hawke's Bay, Hastings, Tararua and Manawatu.

The storm was expected to hit between 3.45pm and 4.37pm.

"These thunderstorms are expected to be accompanied by very heavy rain," the national forecaster said in a statement.


"Very heavy rain can cause surface and, or flash flooding about streams, gullies and urban areas, and make driving conditions extremely hazardous."

Yesterday delivered lashings of summer warmth to the top of the North Island, with Auckland, Hamilton and Whangarei reaching 28C and Tauranga 25C.

It was cooler further south, and wet. Rotorua suffered flash flooding when 25mm of rain fell in an hour and 200 lightning strikes were recorded after a thunderstorm struck the city.

The downpour followed the flooding in Greymouth a day earlier, inundating homes and closed roads, and came just over a week after a deep low thrashed large swathes of the North Island, causing storm surges and flooding in South-East Auckland and Coromandel Peninsula.

Meanwhile, Invercargill could be wilting in foehn-wind raised temperatures of up to 30C - making it only the sixth time in nearly 25 years that temperatures in our southern-most city had reached that high.

Foehn winds are caused when water-packed winds from the west lose their moisture over the mountains, an action that releases energy and warms the air up in the east, said MetService meteorologist April Clark

The heat will be turned up today too - a high of 27C is forecast, a degree hotter than Auckland, 1200 kilometres to the north.

Central Otago will also enjoy a warm weekend, but temperatures won't heat up to the mid to high 20s in Dunedin and Christchurch until tomorrow.

Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management advise as storms approach:
- Take shelter, preferably indoors away from windows
- Avoid sheltering under trees, if outside
- Move cars under cover or away from trees
- Secure any loose objects around your property
- Check that drains and gutters are clear
- If driving, be ready to slow down or stop