They say lightning doesn't strike more than once but the Meadows family have been unlucky three times.

Their home is one of three on Kohekohe-Karioitahi Rd, near Waiuku, that was hit by lightning during this morning's thunderstorm.

Jo Meadows said she, her husband and her two teenage children were asleep when it happened about 5.30am.

"It was really scary and very loud, and we just pretty much woke up to a big boom, fire and spark showers everywhere."

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Meadows said the lightning struck the front of the house and ran along the electrical cables to the bathroom, starting a fire.

She said the plumber who originally fitted the house had wrongly put the plumbing pipes next to the wiring.

"So as the burning has taken place, it's melted the plumbing pipes and they've burst.

"So all the water coming from there has put the fire out."

The strike melted 14 holes in the roof of the house.

Meadows said she's thankful for the plumber's mistake, saying things could've been a lot worse.

She says it's the third time in the five years that lightning has struck their house.

Lightning may have also sparked a blaze in Waitomo.

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Fire and Emergency northern shift manager Jaron Phillips said the Pureora Forest Park DOC office on Barryville Rd was engulfed.

A fierce thunderstorm was over the Waitomo District at the time.

And a kohanga reo was devastated and homes damaged after a tornado ripped through a West Coast settlement this morning.

Meanwhile, two Californian tourists were rescued from their rented Toyota stationwagon after they became trapped by rising floodwaters at Ruakuri Reserve.

A police spokesman said firefighters walked the pair to safety through fast-rising floodwaters about 1m deep that had swamped the scenic reserve's car park.

Te Kuiti fire chief Phil New said as it was still dark, the men were unsure what to do so called emergency services.