Rain, thunderstorms to hit north

22:06, Jan 10 2013

Many parts of the South Island were robbed of their summer this week, but it is the North Island which is due to suffer the last bite.

While most of New Zealand will enjoy a sunny and clear day today, people on the Central Plateau and from Bay of Plenty to Gisborne should brace for rain and thunderstorms, MetService said.

Intense rainfall and strong winds wreaked havoc in the South Island this week - flooding threatened homes in Gore, trampers were stranded on the Milford Track and rivers burst their banks.

A twister yesterday ripped the roof off a workshop in Kaikoura while winds exceeding 100kmh helped exacerbate a fire which ripped through more than 150 hectares and four homes on the outskirts of Christchurch.

Fifteen thousand lightning strikes were recorded in 24 hours.

It certainly wasn't the start to the New Year people were hoping for.

While it's unclear what is in store for next week, MetService meteorologist Daniel Corbett said much of the country would enjoy clear skies and sunny days from today until Sunday.

The front which caused chaos in the South Island this week is moving north and could bring showers and thunderstorms to the Central Plateau and eastern parts of the North Island later today.

"It's not as mean as it was. It's almost like the left-over front," Corbett said.

"It will be more hit and miss. It won't be dramatic rainfall like it's been down south."

There may also be some showers today from Waikato to Hastings, and on the West Coast of the South Island and in Invercargill.

The weekend should bring clear, dry days for most of the North Island, though there may be some rainfall in the Gisborne ranges.

There may also be cloud and rainfall from Taranaki to Wellington on Sunday as a new front, which is due to hit the South Island tomorrow, moves north.

"This front is a bit more of a passing feature, not as much of a nuisance," Corbett said.

It will bring rain to Fiordland, Southland and Westland tomorrow and may intensify on Monday, as it hovers over the North Island, "but the jury is still out on that".