After a day of wild weather the country is waking to chilly conditions with more showers, strong winds and more possible thunderstorms.

While a trough of low pressure over the North Island drops away to the east this morning, a series of fronts is expected to charge up the South Island, bringing rain to western and southern areas.

According to MetService, there is an associated moderate risk of thunderstorms for the northern half of Westland, Buller and the ranges of western Nelson this afternoon, and then for Waitomo, Taranaki, Horowhenua and Kāpiti Coast in the evening.

"These thunderstorms if they occur could bring localised heavy rain with intensities of 10 to 20mm an hour and winds gusting 90km/h," the forecaster predicts.

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"A lower risk of thunderstorms extends over remaining western areas of the North Island."

Overnight temperatures were expected to plunge in the negative figures last night in the South Island with -1C in Wanaka and Nelson, -2 in Blenheim, and -3C in Christchurch, Timaru and Alexandra.

While in the North Island, Waiouru and Masterton were both forecast to hit -1C last night.

There are road snowfall warnings for the Desert Rd (SH1), Lindis Pass (SH8), Crown Range Rd and Milford Rd (SH94) this morning.

The chilly start to the day and showers falling across much of the country follows a day of wild weather yesterday.

Two tornadoes hit the North Island yesterday, damaging 20 homes and injuring two people.

Power was cut to more than 1000 properties in Tauranga and Rotorua, as trees were downed on roads and railway tracks during the storm, which hit just before 3pm.

Lightning struck the country more than 3200 times, including hitting the tip of Auckland's Sky Tower.

In Northland on Wednesday, the sky turned inky black and went deadly silent moments before lightning pulsed and a tornado "let rip", damaging up to 20 homes.

The tornado struck Coopers Beach in the Far North, tearing a roof off a home, pulling sheds apart, and damaging decks and windows. Other parts of New Zealand have also been pelted by bad weather and at least two more tornadoes have hit.

A Fire & Emergency NZ (Fenz) spokesman said as at 3pm fire crews have now discovered 20 homes in the Coopers Beach area have been damaged, mostly superficially.

Two homes closest to State Highway 10 have been badly damaged, with roofs torn off and multiple windows smashed.

They have been declared uninhabitable by a Far North District Council building inspector.

The active weather system that caused so much damage in Northland moved through Auckland to the Bay of Plenty, where hundreds of lightning strikes were recorded.

The occupants of the Northland homes are packing up what they can and will stay with friends in the area. Security guards will be posted until the properties can be made secure.

36,875 lightning strikes between Australia and New Zealand since Monday morning 🤯 How's that for current events? ⚡ ⚡ ⚡ >Ben

Posted by NIWA Weather on Tuesday, 4 June 2019

The sky above the coastal town had earlier darkened just moments before the wild weather broke, Doug Newson from Coopers Beach Sports said.

"The fascinating thing was the stillness to start off with - it was dead still," he said.

"Then it went that inky black colour, we got one big flash of pulsing lightning and then she let rip."

The thunder and rain fell upon the town in a rush.

Newson's store wasn't damaged, but the rain blew virtually sideways about 2m to 3m inside the shop.

Plastic flowers outside the $2 dollar shop next door went flying, with the owner scurrying to catch his remaining stock.

"One of them disappeared past me, he's hanging on to the other one, trying to get them in the doorway."

Elsewhere, palm fronds whistled down the road, while locals dashed into Newson's store for cover, he said.

But after just three minutes or so, the storm was gone.

A 5-10 knot wind blew before the afternoon turned to blue skies and sunshine, Newson said.

However, reports of the "devastating" damage around town quickly filtered in as locals visited Newson's store.

"A gentleman's conservatory has completely blown in and dented, and the windows are gone," he said.

"Another house's windows have come completely out, there's decks blown apart."


He said Aucklanders who owned baches and homes in Coopers Beach had also been calling the shop to ask Newson if their properties had been damaged.

Newson said the tornado "had chosen" its own path through the town, mostly hitting Torsby Rd and State Highway 10.

A second "mini tornado", meanwhile has also struck a shed in Kaiwaka, about 100km north of Auckland in the Kaipara area, emptying the shed's contents.

Civil Defence officials are going door to door to check everyone is okay.

At least two people have been injured.

In Coopers Beach, a Fire and Emergency mobile command unit has arrived and will take charge so volunteer firefighters from Mangonui and Kaitaia can go back to work.

An Urban Search and Rescue team from Auckland was en-route to Coopers Beach.

Two fire crews will remain at the scene helping with the clean-up until USAR crews arrive. Civil Defence and police were also responding, the spokesman said.

Truck driver Craig says he witnessed the event, after first noticing a flash of lightning.

"I just saw this big tree go across the road in front of me. It was literally a flying tree that landed in the middle of the road," he said.

A Coopers Beach resident has posted a photo of the damage to one house to Facebook with corrugated iron and planks of wood strewn across the property.

The homeowner also posted a photo of their trampoline getting thrown around during the storm.

The home's deck was also broken, with part of the railing broken off.

A Torsby Rd resident said she was sleeping after a night shift when she was woken by an almighty bang.

"[There was] a loud boom. The neighbours' roof must have flown off on to my side and damaged my deck. Tiles are ripped of one corner of my roof and broken spouting."

She said no one was in the house at the time and believed it was a holiday home.

She described the house as having "major" roof damage.

Since the storm, police had driven around to affected areas to make sure all the residents were okay, including herself.

One resident said: "Roof off. Decking rails come off. Tramp upside down. Bushes ripped out."

Another resident wrote on Facebook that their neighbour's caravan had been flipped by the tornado.

MetService earlier warned of tornadoes in northern and eastern areas and squally thunderstorms were expected across Northland, Auckland and Coromandel Peninsula in the morning.

Main centre forecasts

Whangārei

Cloudy periods and the chance of a shower. Rain developing evening. Strong westerlies. High 16C, low 10C

Auckland
Cloudy periods with one or two showers. Rain developing evening. Strong westerlies, gale in exposed places this evening. High 15C, 10C

Hamilton
A few morning showers then fine. Chance of a shower again afternoon, then rain developing evening. Gusty westerlies. High 14C, 8C

Tauranga
Showers clearing this morning to fine. The odd shower returning evening, with a period of rain overnight. Strong westerlies. High 15C, 9C

Wellington
Fine morning, then cloud increasing. Possible rain early evening. Southerlies turning northwest afternoon and strengthening. High 14C, 8C

Christchurch
Fine and frosty at first with northerlies. Chance afternoon shower. Southwest developing afternoon. High 13C, 4C

Dunedin
Brief morning rain, then a few showers. Northwesterlies change southwest afternoon. High 12C, 6C
Source: MetService