A woman has been hospitalised after a lightning strike in Māngere as Auckland is hammered by a massive thunderstorm causing the airport to stop refuelling planes, flights to be cancelled and delayed, and houses to shake.

Colleagues of the woman who collapsed say they're not sure if she got hit or fainted from the shock.

Andy Carpentiei, of Happy Campers in Māngere, told the Herald the woman, believed aged in her 50s, was vacuuming one of the rental vehicles inside a shed when the massive lightning bolt struck near the premises.

"She was just cleaning the campervan and she apparently got the vacuum cleaner in her hands then the lightning struck and she just fainted. We don't know if it was from the shock or the lightning."


Carpentiei said the woman was the only one affected and others in the building were not injured.

Emergency services were called to the scene about 8.50am.

Carpentiei said the lightning hit "really, really close to our building".

"I was on the phone and the line just cut and there's some frames on the wall and they just fell and then the lights just turned off."

Carpentiei said there were no obvious signs of burn marks on the woman or the van.

A St John ambulance spokeswoman said a patient had been transported to Middlemore Hospital in a moderate condition.

Meanwhile, a house has been struck by a lightning bolt in Manly, Whangaparaoa.

The moment a lightning bolt strikes a house in Manly on the Whangaparaoa peninsula. Image / Krista Dedden
The moment a lightning bolt strikes a house in Manly on the Whangaparaoa peninsula. Image / Krista Dedden

Hundreds of lightning strikes, power out in some areas

The spectacular thunderstorm has lit up parts of Auckland, causing serious delays at the airport.


Air New Zealand said the thunderstorms in Auckland were causing "significant disruption" to both international and domestic services this morning.

A number of planes had been struck by lightning so required engineering insections before they could fly again which was causing some departures to be delayed or cancelled.

Air New Zealand Chief Operational Integrity Standards Officer Captain David Morgan says while aircraft are insulated and designed to withstand lightning strikes, they must be inspected before they can depart.

"While we regret the disruption to our customers, safety must come first and we ask customers to bear with us today as we manage through the effects of the weather and carry out these inspections.

"Our team is doing everything possible to get our customers to their destinations however due to the uncontrollable nature of the weather and expected flow-on effects customers should consider whether or not they need to travel today," says Captain Morgan.

Additional engineers are being deployed and will work through this as quickly as possible.

The airline is experiencing delays to arrivals due to gate availability, while a number of departures had been cancelled.

The airline was expecting significant flow on disruption across its domestic network throughout the day.

Customers were advised to consider deferring any non-urgent travel, while those who had to travel today were advised to expect disruptions and to consult the airline's arrivals and departures page.

Air New Zealand said customers who did not need to be on the flight they booked automatically had the option to transfer their booking to a later flight today or tomorrow or hold the fare value in credit toward future travel for up to 12 months without the need to advise our contact centre today.

The airline's contact centre was currently experiencing extremely high call volumes.

Just after 8am Auckland Airport issued a lightning alert which meant refuelling of all aircraft had to be halted, a spokesman said.

More than 800 lightning strikes have aso knocked out power to some rural parts of Auckland.

People needed to contact their airlines to find out if their flights were affected, he said.

Just after 9am it was announced flights had been given the all clear to resume.

This MetService rain radar image at 8:28am shows heavy falls across the top of the North Island.
This MetService rain radar image at 8:28am shows heavy falls across the top of the North Island.

All domestic flights out of Auckland Airport had been initially delayed because of the lightning, travellers had been told.

A flight to Palmerston North has been cancelled because of the weather.

There have also been delays reported by travellers heading to Australia.

Those who had just arrived on planes had been told there could be a delay getting their bags because there was a lightning warning for the airfield.

The storm was causing problems with alarms in the domestic terminal going off but travellers were being told to ignore them.

On Twitter, a traveller said they were not able to get off their flights because lightning was keeping all the ground staff inside.

Air New Zealand responded to one customer saying their flight was delayed because of the storm.

A Vector spokeswoman said the lightning strikes had caused power outages in some rural areas of Auckland.

"High levels of energy injected into Vector's network by some of the lightning strikes have caused the network to trip in some northern, western and eastern suburbs, including Whangaparaoa, Piha, Laingholm, Oratia, Helensville, Maraetai and Clevedon."

West Auckland residents have reported a "huge thunder and lightning" storm was now lashing the area.

"The lights are flickering, the house is shaking. There are continuous lightning strikes and heavy rain falling," one said.

Henderson Valley School has no electricity or phones and is closed today.

SCHOOL CLOSED TODAY. Due to storm right overhead we have no power and no phones. The Ministry of Education has advised...

Posted by Henderson Valley School on Monday, 3 December 2018

Niwa principal scientist Chris Brandolino said lightning was hitting the ground west and south of the CBD.

He said there had been 130 lightning strikes in the Auckland region in the five minutes to 8.40am.

"If thunder roars, head indoors," Brandolino said.

A series of cold fronts are set to blast the country today with another round of thunderstorms and torrential rain.

MetService meteorologist Karl Loots said a band of heavy showers and thunderstorms was sitting offshore of the North Island's west coast early this morning and was about to move over land.

It would pass through Northland and Auckland first, spreading to Taranaki late morning.

These thunderstorms could bring downpours of 10-25mm/h.

The entire North Island, bar the east coast, would see showers with a moderate risk of thunderstorms for the day.

The wicked weather comes after several days of the same.

On Sunday parts of Hamilton saw flash flooding, causing homes to be evacuated and half a dozen becoming uninhabitable.

Then on Monday four people were injured after a lightning strike at Hamilton North School.

Loots said it had been a "very active" few days of thunderstorms.

Along with the lightning strikes yesterday there were downpours of 35mm/h scattered across the North Island. In some parts of the Wairarapa away from their rain gauges the figures could be even higher, Loots said.

Around midday today through the early afternoon the fronts will clear for periods of sunshine in the North Island, before showers returned in the west this evening.

In the South Island another front was moving over land, bringing rain and thunderstorms across the West Coast from Buller to Fiordland.

Otago and Southland would see some scattered rain, clearing this morning, before some potential thunderstorms, showers and even downpours in the afternoon and evening.

Eastern parts of the country were in for a relatively fine day, with Napier in for a high of 27C and Canterbury 25C.

Some spots could see significant northwest winds, gradually increasing and getting close to gale, especially in Wellington.

These fronts would move over the country today, before another affected the far south tomorrow morning, bringing in some cooler weather.

"We have had this very strong, warm, humid northerly flow the past few days," Loots said.

"This will change around Wednesday when the wind will swing around to the southwest."

It is not all bad though, with a high pressure forming Thursday into Friday and Saturday, bringing some fine weather for most places at long last.

Today's weather


Rain, possibly heavy and thundery, becoming fine in the morning. Northwesterlies. 24C high, 14C overnight.


​ Rain, possibly heavy and thundery, becoming fine around midday. Northwesterlies. 22C high, 15C overnight.


Rain developing morning, possibly heavy and thundery, becoming fine early afternoon as northerlies turn westerly. 22C high, 13C overnight.


Rain developing morning, possibly heavy and thundery with hail, becoming fine afternoon as northerlies turn westerly. 23C high, 15C overnight.

New Plymouth Morning rain, possibly heavy and thundery, then fine. A few showers developing evening. Northerlies, but afternoon westerlies. 20C high, 14C overnight.

Napier Fine morning and evening, but some afternoon rain. Northwesterlies. 27C high, 14C overnight.

Whanganui​ Rain developing late morning, possibly heavy, becoming fine early afternoon. A few showers at night. Northerlies, but afternoon westerlies. 23C high, 12C overnight.

Wellington Occasional rain, becoming fine early afternoon. A few showers at night. Northerlies rising to gale from afternoon. 19C high, 13C overnight.

Nelson Morning showers, then a fine afternoon. Showers return evening. Northerlies. 22C high, 12C overnight.

Christchurch Morning low cloud and chance shower, then fine spells. Winds turning northerly. 25C high, 10C overnight.

Dunedin Early rain, then a few showers, chance heavy and thundery afternoon and evening. Southerlies developing at night. 19C high, 10C overnight.

The moment a lightning bolt strikes a house in Manly on Whangaparaoa. Image / Krista Dedden
The moment a lightning bolt strikes a house in Manly on Whangaparaoa. Image / Krista Dedden