Lightning strikes illuminated the sky above Wellington last night as the capital was hit by a spectacular thunderstorm.

More than a thousand lightning strikes lit up the sky and thunder boomed across the top of the South Island and bottom of the North.

While it made for a great viewing police and fire said they had no weather-related call outs during the night.

Police said the Wellington City Council were cleaning up a small slip in Lyall Bay.


More than 18,000 people were earlier without power following the lightning strikes. Power has since been restored.

If you missed the lightning last night, you may just get another chance to see it this morning.

MetService's Arno Dayson said the capital bore the brunt of the bad weather and more could be on the way.

MetService has warned of more rain, squalls, strong winds, thunderstorms and even coastal tornadoes today as another front makes its way across the country.

For Auckland, there is a moderate risk of thunderstorms about midday, which are likely to be accompanied by heavy rain, hail and strong winds up to 110km/h.

There is also a risk of severe thunderstorms from the Waikato to the Kapiti Coast this morning and MetService has warned there could be small coastal tornadoes.

The rest of the North Island can expect showery conditions, especially up the west coast from Taranaki to Northland, WeatherWatch analyst Philip Duncan said.

"Some of these showers will become heavy with some thunder at times during the afternoon and into evening."

Mr Duncan said gusty northwesterlies would swing to the west in the afternoon and temperatures may fall in some places.

"The East Coast sees sunny areas and some high cloud, with the chance of a spot of rain spreading from the west at times. Otherwise it will be mainly dry with nothing substantial for farmers this time around."

Mr Duncan said showers would remain for the west of South Island for much of the day, while morning rain about Buller could become heavy, then ease to showers in the afternoon as the wind shifts from west to southwest.

"The east coast of the South Island sees some early showers clear, then mostly sunny conditions with light winds. Southland and Otago see some morning sun, then showers from afternoon as northerlies change westerly," Mr Duncan said.

"Coastal Otago stays mainly sunny for much of the day, though high cloud thickens in the evening, bringing a few spots of rain along with it."

MetService has a severe weather warning in place for eastern Bay of Plenty, Mt Taranaki and the Tararua Range as a large trough slowly moves eastwards across New Zealand.

The largest amount of rain is expected about the ranges of the North Island, according to MetService, and trampers are warned the amount of rain could cause rivers and streams to rise rapidly and surface flooding and slips are possible.

Main centres outlook


Periods of rain, possibly heavy. Strong southwest change. High 20C.

Auckland: Periods of rain, possibly heavy. Strong southwest change. High 18C.

Tauranga: Rain, possibly heavy, and strong northwest winds, easing in the evening. High 17C.

Hamilton: Rain with a chance of thunder. Rain eases in the evening with a southwest change. High 16C.

Wellington: Rain clearing to become fine in the afternoon. Gale northwest winds ease. High 15C.

Christchurch: High cloud. Northeast for a time. High 12C.

Dunedin: Increasing high cloud. Northerlies. High 12C.

Source: MetService