Severe thunderstorm warning issued
Metservice has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the Central North Island as the Taranaki coast is lashed by wind and rain from the Tasman Sea.
A thunderstorm watch is already in place for the Waikato, Bay of Plenty and central region with expected downpours of 25 to 40mm, hail and wind gusts of 90km/hr.
The heavy rain and winds hit the West Coast this afternoon, making its way inland.
Drivers are being urged to take extreme caution.
Scattered heavy showers and thunderstorms are expected until early evening and Metservice is warning of surface and flash flooding especially in low-lying areas.
Rain is due to ease this evening.
The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management said people should take shelter inside if the storm approaches, secure loose objects and avoid stream and other low-lying areas.