Auckland and Coromandel have been pounded by more than 200 lightning strikes tonight as a fierce storm hit the region.

The strikes were recorded between 5pm and 7pm as a thunderstorm tracked east across South Auckland before passing over the Coromandel Peninsula. It brought heavy rain and hail.

MetService forecaster Amy Rossiter said the thunderstorm had now moved out to sea, leaving behind isolated showers. Aucklanders should wake up to fine weather, she said.

A lightning tracker showing thunderstorms south of Auckland just before 6pm. Image / WeatherWatch
A lightning tracker showing thunderstorms south of Auckland just before 6pm. Image / WeatherWatch

Video of the storm shows hail and rain pounding Jasmine Harris' backyard in Manurewa just before 6pm. Photos show the hail piling up on a deck and two young children enjoying the wintry surprise.

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Harris told the Herald: "Lots of thunder and lightning, little bit of rain, briefly very windy and a lot of hail!"

Aucklanders were earlier warned to brace for a downpour from around 5pm, with more than 100 lightning strikes hitting the Tasman Sea this afternoon.

Hail piles up on a woman's deck in Manurewa tonight. Photo / Supplied
Hail piles up on a woman's deck in Manurewa tonight. Photo / Supplied

Duncan forecast a "burst of downpours" moving in from the west, set to hit the North Island just south of Auckland Airport from about 4.45pm to 6pm. Isolated thunderstorms were forecast with the Pukekohe area most exposed.

And Taranaki, struck by a tornado this afternoon, was also in the firing line - the MetService warned about 4.30pm a thunderstorm was about to "barrel headfirst into south Taranaki".

The thunderstorm follows a tornado early this afternoon, which damaged two New Plymouth buildings and frightened residents in the Taranaki city - including tearful pre-schoolers forced to shelter with their teachers in a hallway.

There will be "on again, off again" rain across the country for the coming week, but there may be some dry relief tomorrow.

Showers and rain have battered Auckland this morning, and the city was shrouded in fog for the third straight day.

The downpours have created surface flooding in some areas, making driving conditions hazardous.

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Slight tornado came past work today, metro fires bore the brunt of it and the wing mirror on my car didn’t fair too well....

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MetService meteorologist Lewis Ferris said a rain band crossing the country today would clear by tonight - but temporarily.

"It's quite wet and stormy up in Auckland, there's some thunderstorm risk associated with that as it crosses over," Ferris said.

"That rain band clears the country tonight, but hangs around in western Fiordland area.

"We have the next feature that comes on tomorrow, which affects western areas of the South Island through the morning, but then moves up the country and crosses over."

The coming week across the country would be similar to this week.

A disturbed westerly flow over the country meant temperatures were "a little bit warmer than they typically are this time of the year".

It would be wet in the west and dry in the east.

"It's going to be on again, off again rain across the country through until Wednesday," Ferris said.

"Eastern areas of the South Island will be a bit dryer as they have been for the last week.

"Then moving into next week, we have a similar system that crosses on Monday and Tuesday, which is going to be quite similar. But we'll have more details as we get closer to that."

There may be thunderstorms in western parts of the country this evening. Image / MetService
There may be thunderstorms in western parts of the country this evening. Image / MetService

Ferris said tomorrow would be the best bet for a bit of drier weather.

"They'll be showers in western areas, the eastern area will have a bit of a respite, and then it's not until Sunday that the next feature crosses over," Ferris said.

"Saturday is the best bet for the North Island. It's quite similar for the South Island in eastern areas. Saturday looks pretty good. Monday again is looking relatively dry for the North Island."