Another day, another weather record bites the dust.

This time it's Wanaka, already in the grip of a heatwave, which rubbed out an old high temperature record.

Temperatures have soared in the late afternoon to 35.2C - smashing the previous record of 34.5C measured in February 2005.

Earlier a new January record in Wanaka had been set at 34.4C, with MetService meteorologist James Millward saying it had eclipsed the early 1999 record of 34.1C.

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"If it doesn't do it today there's a good chance it could do it next week, when the temperature's looking even higher," Millward said prior to the temperature topping 35C.

Wanaka has been the grip of a heatwave for more than a week.

A meteorological heatwave is when the daily maximum temperature is higher than the average maximum by at least 5C for five consecutive days.

Wanaka's average maximum temperature is 24C and daytime highs have not fallen below 29C since January 18.

The town has been warned - along with much of the eastern South Island - to expect baking hot temperatures until at least Tuesday.

In Wanaka, that means highs between 32C and 34C.

It's been an unusally warm summer across the country, with the heat arriving in November and clinging to Kiwis like a sweaty t-shirt since.

A new January record was set in Whangaparaoa, north Auckland, today, with a temperature of 28.7C being the highest since records began in 1999, Metservice tweeted.

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"It beat 28.6C set in January 2010. It is now the 2nd hottest daily max temperature recorded at Whangaparoa - the hottest a scorching 30.5C in Feb 2017."

Auckland itself reached 28.3C, 1.7C below its January record of 30C.

Other main centres were cooler - cloud kept the temperatures to the low 20s in Wellington and Christchurch.

The warm weather has also sparked up some of our skies, with the central North Island thrashed by a severe thunderstorm late yesterday. More than 11,000 lightning strikes were recorded and hail fell in the Eastern Bay of Plenty and parts of Waikato.

This afternoon, Metservice warned severe thunderstorms and downpours were also possible this afternoon and evening in the central North Island between the Central Plateau, parts of eastern Bay of Plenty and southern Bay of Plenty, Waikato and South Auckland.

MetService also issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the West Coast areas of Maruia and Burnbrae.

The area will be hit with severe thunderstorms and heavy rain this evening.

Motorists are warned to take care as heavy rain can cause surface and/or flash flooding about streams, gullies and urban areas, and make driving conditions extremely hazardous.

The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management advises that as storms approach you should:

- Take shelter, preferably indoors away from windows;
- Avoid sheltering under trees, if outside;
- Move cars under cover or away from trees;
- Secure any loose objects around your property;
- Check that drains and gutters are clear;
- Be ready to slow down or stop, if driving.
During and after the storm, you should also:
- Beware of fallen trees and power lines;
- Avoid streams and drains as you may be swept away in flash flooding.