Warm and windy again in north and east, gales in Wellington, wet in west and south
Another warm and windy day is on the way for the north and east of the North Island and the northeast of the South Island, while Wellington and the Wairarapa will be blasted by severe northwest gales.
Winds are also expected to be particularly strong across the south of the South Island on Thursday while rain or showers is likely in the southwest of the North Island and all the South Island, heavier in the west.
It will be a cooler day in Central Otago, after a hot and windy Wednesday in which mini-tornadoes blew up in Cromwell and a scrub fire on the Glenorchy Road, west of Queenstown burst back into life.
MetService meteorologist Tom Adams said Cromwell was hit by unusually large dust devils.
Conditions needed to create them were sunshine to heat the ground and wind shear - when the wind is slightly stronger in one place than another.
It was windy at the time and with the mountains around Cromwell it was easy to get a lot of wind shear, Adams said.
"It had one of those set-ups conducive to large dust devils."
On Wednesday evening police urged residents of a part of Cromwell to stay inside and away from windows after some debris was thrown up to 500 metres, with one mini-tornado estimated to have been 70m high.
Thursday is expected to be particularly warm in some eastern areas, with MetService expecting Whangarei to get to 29 degrees Celsius, with sunny spells and a northwesterly. Similar conditions are expected for Tauranga with a 26C high, while Gisborne is expected to be sunny with freshening northwesterlies and 30C.
Napier has a predicted high of 32C with high cloud increasing, while Christchurch is headed for 29C but could have a few showers from noon then a southerly change later in the day expected to pull overnight temperatures down.
In Wellington it will be less heat and more wind, with a measly high of just 19C, gale northerlies gusting to 120kmh and afternoon rain.
Auckland is expected to have sunny spells and a 24C high, while New Plymouth's outlook is far gloomier as drizzle is expected to turn to rain on the way to a 20C high.
Nelson could have occasional rain and 23C, while Dunedin is headed for 20C with showers, and Invercargill has a risk of thunder and hail with strong westerlies and only 16C.
Queenstown could have a few showers with a strong westerly easing and 20C, while Greymouth is headed for 18C with rain expected to ease to showers around midday.