The thunderstorm that was over just as fast as it began kept emergency services on its toes, responding to flooding incidents around the city and a barn that burst into flames.

The sudden downpour, around 5.30pm on Saturday caused flooding on a number of streets, as well as a boardroom at Rotorua Girls' High School.

Firefighters spent seven hours extinguishing a hay barn that burst into flames at a rural property on Paradise Valley Rd.

Readers on the Rotorua Daily Post Facebook page were quick to comment about the impact of the storm.


"Little scary driving along Pukehangi and Clayton Rds ... Heaps of surface water. Window wipers couldn't keep up with the deluge either so had to pull over," one person wrote.

Another said it was "bucketing down in Tihiotonga" and the car on their front lawn was hardly visible from the house.

Metservice meteorologist Ciaran Doolin said the storm was associated with a "quite active front that was moving across the North Island".

He said between 5pm and 6pm Rotorua had 16.5mm of rain which met the criteria to be classed as 'heavy rain'.

When asked how common it was for buildings to be struck by lightning, Mr Doolin said there was "always a risk of ground strikes during thunderstorms".

He said he did not have specific data about the number of lightning strikes that hit Rotorua during the storm.

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Looking ahead at the weather forecast Mr Doolin said most days would be fine with occasional showers, but locals could expect a slight drop in temperature.

"We are expecting similar temperatures [today] as we had yesterday but from Tuesday there is a drop with a high of 18C and an overnight low of 8C."

He said the temperature drop could be attributed to a southeasterly change moving up the country.