Wild weather for North Island

07:17, Jan 17 2013
Storm clouds roll in over Wellington.
Rain clouds open up over the capital.
Storm clouds roll over Wellington airport.
A storm front rolls over Wellington Harbour.
A storm front rolls over Wellington Harbour.
A storm front rolls over Wellington Harbour.

The southerly front, forecast to bring thunder, lightning and even hail, has arrived in Wellington.

Temperatures are set to drop tonight as a southerly sweeps north through the country, while severe thunderstorms and rain are due to hit the lower North Island and Marlborough.

STORM: Rain clouds over Wellington.

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MetService  issued a severe thunderstorm watch for the capital and surrounding areas this morning.

Northern Waikanae Beach residents were left without power after a line reportedly went down at 3pm, possibly due to the weather, electricity supplier Electra said.


Electra control centre operator Allan Anderson said the incident initially cut electricity supply to the whole of Waikanae Beach, though power was restored to the area south of Te Moana Rd at 3.30pm.

A technician was currently at the site of the fault, but there was no timeframe as to when power would be restored to northern Waikanae Beach residents.

MetService meteorologist Dan Corbett said the southerly front would meet northerly flowing air over Cook Strait, causing heavy thundery showers and a drop in temperature.

Weather analysts expected hailstones about 20 millimetres in diameter and damaging wind gusts of 110kmh or more.

"Large hail can cause significant damage to crops, orchards, vines, glasshouses and vehicles, as well as make driving conditions hazardous," MetService said.

"Wind gusts of this strength can cause some structural damage, including to trees and power lines."

This weather system would drift off east of New Zealand later this evening, however, those areas it had crossed would experience cooler temperatures,Corbett said.

Christchurch was due to shiver through 6 degree Celsius tonight, while Masterton’s temperature may plummet to 5C.

While tomorrow would be drier, nowhere in the country would reach above the low 20s, Corbett said.

Rain was expected on the west coast of the South Island on Saturday morning, before moving north to Wellington.

It wouldn’t last long, however, and most of the country would experience dry and clear conditions over the weekend, Corbett said. 

The thunderstorm watch was in place until 8pm, when the storm should pass north of Wellington and the rain will ease to showers.