More thunderstorms and tornadoes are set to barrel across northern and western regions of both islands for the rest of today and tomorrow.

The MetService is warning potentially destructive twisters are possible when thunderstorms roll over Taranaki, south Waikato and Westland before dawn tomorrow.

Earlier today a tornado tore through the West Coast settlement north of Hokitika flattening a kohanga reo building and damaging homes.

At least three homes were hit by a lightning bolt on Manukau Heads and a building destroyed by fire in Waitomo District after it was struck in thunderstorm.


The West Coast of the South Island remains in the firing line with thunderstorms expected across the region until midday tomorrow.

MetService warns there would be sporadic lightning, brief torrential downpours, hail up to 10mm in diameter and squally 100km/h wind gusts.

Thunderstorms were likely to continue across the upper half of the North Island this afternoon with a chance they would spread to the Bay of Plenty, Rotorua, Taupo, Whanganui and Manawatu after lunch.

The storms were set to return before dawn tomorrow with coastal Taranaki and Westland in the firing line, with MetService warning of a further risk of damaging tornadoes.

"There is also the risk of small tornadoes before dawn, mainly about Taranaki and along the South Island west coast. If any tornadoes do occur, they will be very localised, but there is a low risk one or two could be severe causing damage to buildings and vegetation," according to the latest MetService Thunderstorm Outlook.

Heavy rain warnings remain in place for the Tararua Ranges, Westland and Fiordland.

Up to 250mm is expected to fall on the Westland ranges with rain now lasting until 6pm tomorrow.

While the heavy rain was expected to stop falling at the bottom of the North Island this afternoon another torrential downpour was likely tomorrow morning.


A strong wind watch remained in force for Hawke's Bay, Wairarapa, Wellington and Canterbury with gales not dying down in most areas until later tonight. For eastern regions strong westerlies would not start blowing until lunchtime tomorrow.

The country could expect to be lashed by wind and rain until Saturday before a fresh low tracked over the country Sunday bringing gales to the north.