Hawke's Bay weather is expected to return to a sense of normality on Wednesday after several days of climatic flip-flopping varying from hot sunny weather to black clouds, thunder, lightning, rain and a smidgen of hail.

National weather agency MetService duty meteorologist Melissa Oosterwijk said late on Tuesday that after patches of thunderstorms broke out in Hawke's Bay, the next 24 hours was looking clearer.

"Thunderstorm activity is all over the area," she said, "but we're not expecting any on Wednesday."

Mid-afternoon downpours had scattered across the Napier-Hastings area, the dark thunder clouds clearly visible as they gathered.


Between 3pm and 4pm, there were downpours of 7.6mm at Hawke's Bay Airport and 6.8mm in Hastings Central but no rain in some nearby areas.

Oosterwijk said fine weather with high cloud was forecast for the next 24 hours.

Earlier, fellow meteorologist Stephen Glassey said an area of low pressure had moved over the North Island, creating favourable conditions for thunderstorms, with cold air at the upper levels.

Hawke's Bay and Gisborne saw about a 100 lightning strikes between 7pm on Monday and early-morning Tuesday, mainly around Mahia Peninsula and coastal Gisborne but with some lightning strikes just west of Hastings, which created an unusual night show for some sky and weather watchers.

While the amount was "decent", over the weekend, in just 24 hours to 9am Monday morning 28,991 lightning strikes hit the country.

Lightning on the horizon over Hawke's Bay last night. Photo / Supplied
Lightning on the horizon over Hawke's Bay last night. Photo / Supplied

An "intense" period of rain was also felt, with Wairoa recording 30mm overnight, while Napier and Hastings "didn't really" measure in the rain gauges.