Auckland Transport have warned drivers travelling across the Harbour Bridge to take extra care as gusts of up to 90km/h are recorded.

A New Zealand Transport Agency spokeswoman advised drivers to extend following distances.

High-sided vehicles and motorcyclists are advised to take State Highway 16 instead.

"Take care on the Harbour Bridge. Winds are high and speed limits have been reduced," she said.


Thunderstorms which hammered some parts of the North Island will be easing today but strong winds and rain will linger.

A band of rain and winds and a westerly flow is now moving across the country, Metservice meteorologist Lisa Murray said.

There are a few showers west of the city. Hamilton would also get a few showers but it would gradually start clearing inland from late afternoon, Murray said.

Posted by Wellington Weather on Wednesday, 13 July 2016

However, a front would be moving over the west of the country bringing more wild weather to areas including Taranaki, Kapiti Coast and the West Coast.

Strong winds of up to 100km/h, heavy downpours and possible hail could be expected before dawn in these areas.

A weather watch for heavy rain issued by Metservice was also in place for areas including Taranaki, Hawke's Bay, Tararua, Wellington, Marlborough, Fiordland and Central Otago for tomorrow morning.

These areas could expect up to 130mm of rain.

There was also a strong wind watch for Canterbury and Wairarapa with gusts of 130km/h in exposed places tomorrow morning.

Marlborough and Wellington could also expect strong winds tomorrow.

A thunderstorm battered the north of Wellington in the early hours of the morning today.

Areas including Lower Hutt, Johnsonville and the Kapiti Coast had gusts of up to 140km/h and heavy rainfall.

"It kicked off in the northern suburbs. We had about 21 lightning strikes," Murray said.

Mana Island had winds of up to 87km/h and Kelburn recorded gusts of up to 109km/h.

"More exposed places could have had stronger winds as well.

"Right through the night we had strong winds and decent rainfall," Murray said.

Kelburn received 11mm of rainfall per hour which was significant, she said.

A decent dump of snow has covered ski fields in Queenstown.

"They would get more as well today which will be very welcoming for the fields."

Overnight, Cardrona received 15cm of snow, the Remarkables 12cm and Treble Cone received 11cm

"They got the best snow in the country," she said.

Skiers in the North Island would be pleased Whakapapa ski field received 20cm of snow overnight.

"They have a good band of rain which is falling as snow," she said.

Heavy rain in Westland this evening and tomorrow morning could bring up to 130mm of rain which could possibly fall as snow.

"We should get more snow and will be a good top up and will help the base," she said.

Strong winds would be affecting most parts of the country today and would be here to stay for over a week.

For the next week and a half, a belt of wind which wraps around the lower Southern Hemisphere called the roaring forties would cross New Zealand, Weather Watch head analyst Philip Duncan said.

Areas in the lower North Island and South Island, including Taranaki, Manawatu, Wellington and Canterbury, would be affected by strong winds, "Today and across the next week we're going to see this belt of wind crossing New Zealand, lifting north of the 40s latitude around Wanganui and fanning out as far north as the sub-tropics.

"At times it will swing more southerly and tap into colder air around Antarctica, lifting it up across New Zealand. "This is more likely the further south you head the further north you go the more the airflow comes from out of the Australia region, even if it turns more southerly," he said.

Snowfall warning

Lewis Pass

• Snow showers were expected to affect the road until Thursday evening, and 2-5cm could fall about the summit.

• Another period of snow was possible late tomorrow morning, and another 1-2cm could fall about the summit.

Arthurs Pass

• Snow showers are expected to affect the road until Thursday evening, and 2-5cm could fall about the summit. Another period of snow is possible tomorrow morning, and another 2-5cm could fall about the summit.

Porters Pass

• Snow was not expected to affect the road.

Lindis Pass

• A few snow showers are possible this morning and afternoon, and 1-2cm could fall above 600m. Further snow showers were expected tomorrow morning, and another 1-3cm could fall above 500m.

Haast Pass

• Snow showers could affect the road until early afternoon, and 1-2cm could fall about the summit.

Milford Road

• Snow was expected to ease this afternoon, and another 4-8cm could fall near the tunnel, with lesser amounts to about 500m.

• Further snow is likely from early tomorrow morning and should clear by the evening. Another 15 to 25cm of snow was expected about the tunnel during Friday, with lesser amounts to about 400m.