22 Dec 2022

Severe thunderstorm watch issued for much of country

12:46 pm on 22 December 2022
Wellington thunderstorms.

Thunderstorms are predicted for much of the country this afternoon. Photo: Twitter / Ross P

It may be starting to feel a lot like summer holidays, but pre-Christmas weather is still looking unpredictably stormy in much of the country today.

MetService has said there is "another thundery day on the cards" with several parts of the country at high risk of thunderstorms and even small tornadoes possible in parts of the North Island through this evening.

A Severe Thunderstorm Watch has been issued for this afternoon for most of the central North Island from Hamilton down to Palmerston North, and lower South Island centred in Central Otago and Fiordland.

Thunderstorms are expected to develop this afternoon in both locations, MetService said, and "some of these may become severe this afternoon and evening, bringing localised downpours with intensities of 25 to 40mm per hour."

The storms are expected to ease this evening, but there are warnings of flash flooding and driving conditions becoming hazardous.

Fine Christmas Day forecast

Weather forecasters expect Christmas Eve will start off well with generally fine weather but there will be scattered showers across the South Island and eastern and central parts of the North.

Christmas Day will be lovely, with most places set for fine weather.

Showers may hit in some inland areas in the evening and MetService hasn't ruled out some thunderstorms.

Te Awamutu even saw something that looked a little bit like Christmas snow on Wednesday:

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