The wet and windy weather that caused almost 3500 lightning strikes yesterday is showing no sign of abating.
A disturbed westerly flow covering New Zealand is likely to bring significant rain, severe northwest gales, and snow, said MetService.
There is a severe weather watch currently in place for the possibility of northwest winds reaching severe gale in exposed parts of Hawkes Bay, south of Hastings, through to early this afternoon.
The Wild-Wild-West! There have been almost 3500 lightning strikes so far today (to 10pm). The Southern Alps are doing a great job at blocking thunderstorms from getting too far east in the very strong westerly flow. Westland has had 1120 strikes. ^AG pic.twitter.com/WDmZzDOe9r— MetService (@MetService) May 20, 2018
MetService said there was a moderate risk of thunderstorms in western parts of Waikato, Waitomo, Taumarunui and North Taranaki this morning, bringing localised heavy rain of 10-20mm/hr and small hail.
"There is also a low risk of one or two of these thunderstorms spreading further east into remaining parts of Waikato, Coromandel Peninsula, Bay of Plenty and Taupo until mid afternoon," it said.
There is a high likelihood of "significant widespread rain in the west and severe northwest gales in the east" tomorrow, said MetService.
It is predicted that across Wellington and Wairarapa there will be severe northwest gales on both Tuesday and Thursday. On Thursday and Friday, there is a moderate chance of severe west to northwest gales over a very large part of the North Island from Coromandel Peninsula southwards.
Strong winds are causing power outages for hundreds of properties in the Wairarapa, with line company Powerco saying that about 160 homes in the suburb of Solway and about 50 in Mauriceville, both near Masterton, were without power.
Further south in Carterton, almost 60 homes were without power.
Meanwhile, the Queenstown Lakes District Council said snow had fallen on the Crown Range and it was warning motorists that chains must be carried.
It said all major routes in the district were open and the Lindis Pass had been cleared of snow and gritted.
But the council said with wet roads and cooler temperatures, there was a chance of ice forming and it was urging motorists to drive with care.