A damaging tornado warning has now been dropped by MetService.
The MetService warned further thunderstorms and potentially destructive twisters were possible today as thunderstorms were due to roll over Taranaki, south Waikato and Westland before dawn. Yesterday a destructive tornado ripped through Awatuna, north of Hokitika on the West Coast, damaging a kohanga reo and homes.
But meteorologist Tom Adams said no tornadoes were reported this morning and, although it would be windy with gusts around 100km/h in western parts of the country, strong tornadoes were unlikely.
"If there are any they'll be very small," Adams said.
But a mixed bag of snow, gales, heavy rain, and fine spells is setting upon the country.
Strong winds were whipping around western parts of the country with the Rimutaka Hill copping the worst of it this morning and gusting up to 124km/hr.
The rumbling and cracking of thunderstorms could be heard in Auckland and Wellington this morning. Between 7pm and 7am 2910 lightning strikes were recorded.
In Wellington, 32 lightning strikes hit land, 18 in Auckland and the Kapiti Coast had 56.
A total 11,500 lightning strikes were recorded in the 24 hours until 6pm yesterday. About 90 per cent were over water but more than 1000 hit land.
A severe weather warning is still in place for Westland from Otira south today for heavy rain, which may cause streams and rivers to rise rapidly. Surface flooding and slips were also possible and driving conditions may be hazardous.
Snow had already fallen around the South Island, down to 400m in Lewis Pass.
Auckland would escape the worst of the weather and can expect showers, fine spells and strong winds. Adams said the weather was going to be predictably changeable for the forseeable future as was typical of spring.
"Pretty much every day there are showers in there.
"Most days we'll see fine spells and showers with the odd thunderstorm mixed in and now it is going to stick around for the next few days."
Cloudy with a few showers, fine spells from afternoon. Gusty northwesterlies. High 18C, Overnight 9C
Cloudy with showers, but a few fine spells from afternoon. Northwesterlies, strong in exposed places. High 17C, Overnight 11C
Periods of rain, chance heavy. Gusty northwesterlies. High 15C, Overnight 8C
Cloudy, showers, fine spells from afternoon. Westerlies. High 16, Overnight 9C
Some rain. Northerlies, gales at times. High 13C, Overnight 8C