Thunderstorms are expected to continue to hammer the North Island today while snow and rain lash the south.

More than 200 Taranaki homes are without power after a spectacular stormy night knocked out electricity to hundreds across the region.

MetService is warning unstable conditions in the skies mean much of the North Island from Northland to Manawatu and southern Hawke's Bay remains at risk of thunder and lightning from midday.

Forecasters warn the thunderstorms were likely to lash many regions with outbursts of heavy rain, hail and strong wind gusts of up to 100km/h.


A far lower risk of stormy weather was likely for the remaining eastern and southern parts of the North Island and top of the South Island.

Last night a lightning bolt struck an iconic piece of public art in New Plymouth, knocking out a light at the tip of the Wind Wand.

Powerco said power was out to 226 homes in Stratford and not likely to be restored until lunchtime today.

At the same time Southland, eastern Otago, North Canterbury and the Kaikoura Ranges will be deluged by heavy rain in the coming 12 hours.

Many South Island alpine road passes have warnings, with snow expected to fall throughout the day. Despite snow falling yesterday roads remain open.

Later today gales are expected to ramp up over Northland and last all night.

And it's not looking flash for the rest of the week with just a brief reprieve tomorrow from the spell of wet weather.