Thunderstorms rumble over Auckland, causing 400 lightning strikes

In a somewhat rare situation, the Auckland region has seen about 400 lightning strikes over a roughly three-hour period Monday evening – putting on a light show for two days in a row.

While some areas are more prone to thunder and lightning than others, it’s unusual anywhere in New Zealand to see lightning and thunder two days in a row, said MetService forecaster Allister Gorman.

“We usually share them around more,” he said.

Most of the Auckland thunderstorms on Monday were around Helensville and Kaipara Harbour.

“The Auckland area is under a moderate risk of thunder storms until tomorrow morning,” but it’s unlikely to compare to last night’s spectacular show, Gorman said. “Probably most of the action this evening has been east of Great Barrier Island, we away from Auckland.”

An intense hail storm has gone through South Head, Helensville just after 6pm this evening.

Most of the lightning strikes will tend to be over the sea at night because the water retains more warmth, meaning that those who live along the coast will likely see more, he added.

The region remains under a heavy rain watch due to a slow-moving front, meaning people should be wary while travelling or if in flood-prone areas. While not all areas will be hit by heavy rain, it remains a possibility.

“There is some uncertainty as to exactly where the heaviest rain will fall, but rainfall amounts may approach warning criteria in the vicinity of this rain-band,” MetService has warned on its website.

The thunderstorms are expected to move north towards Cape Reinga on Tuesday, possibly leaving New Zealand by Wednesday, Gorman said.

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