As it happened: Thunderstorm hits North Island of New Zealand

These live updates have now ended.

What you need to know:

  • After sweeping its way across Auckland on Tuesday morning, a massive storm is currently moving east and down the North Island towards the Bay of Plenty.
  • Power remains out across much of the city, including in Mangere and Kelston.
  • Between 6:30am and 8:30am on Tuesday morning there were 872 lightning strikes across New Zealand. 

2:56pm - Whangaparaoa bore the brunt of the heavy rainfall in the Auckland region today, with MetService reporting it was showered with 24.2mm of rain in just two hours. 

2:21pm - Newshub has compiled some potentially life-saving tips about how to stay safe in a lightning storm. You can read up on them here.

12:54pm - The storm is moving east and down the North Island towards the Bay of Plenty. 

There is low visibility at moment at the Coromandel Coastal Walkway according to this SnapItHD camera.

As it happened: Thunderstorm hits North Island of New Zealand
Photo credit: SnapItHD

12:46pm - Steve Betts, centre manager at The Base, has confirmed torrential rain created a major leak in the mall's food court ceiling.

The affected area is cordoned off, but the food court remains open.

11:47am - A video online shows part of the ceiling at The Base Hamilton food court has collapsed, leaving customers shocked. A worker at a nearby Mad Mex confirmed no one had been evacuated.

As it happened: Thunderstorm hits North Island of New Zealand
Photo credit: Cameron King

11:21am - Metservice says the worst of the thunderstorms have moved on from Auckland.

The front that battered the city this morning will now head eastwards and down to the Bay of Plenty.

While Auckland will get some respite, another front will move across the city this evening. However, Metservice doesn't believe that front will be as bad as the one this morning.

Metservice have also advised it is now safe to go outdoors.

11:14am - The weather seems to have mostly cleared at the Viaduct Harbour, as seen from this SnapItHD camera.

As it happened: Thunderstorm hits North Island of New Zealand
Photo credit: SnapItHD

10:59am - MetService says the front is quickly moving eastward. It is expected to continue to affect the Coromandel Peninsula and the Bay of Plenty through the next few hours.

10:56am - Between 8:51am and 10:51am there were 469 lightning strikes, according to Weatherwatch's live tracker. That is down from 872 between 6:30am and 8:30am.

As it happened: Thunderstorm hits North Island of New Zealand
Photo credit: Weatherwatch

10:49am - Several schools around Auckland have closed due to the effects of the weather.

Kelston Boys' High School said "due to a power outage, the safety and security of our students is paramount, school will be closed today".

Power outages also led Oratia District School to close for the day, with children who are already at school to be supervised until they are picked up by parents or caregivers.

The school asked for students to be collected as soon as it was safe to do so.

"There is no power at school which means that our septic tank system will not be operational which creates an unsafe environment for students and staff."

Henderson Valley School said the Ministry of Education had advised it to close for health and safety reasons.

10:33am - Flights on Air New Zealand aircraft continue to be delayed or cancelled because of thunderstorms.

Gate availability is causing delays to arriving aircraft as staff on the tarmac cannot load or unload the aircraft when lightning is in the vicinity.

Several aircraft also require engineering inspections due to possible lightning strikes. Additional engineers are being deployed to avoid more delays.

While aircraft are insulated and designed to withstand lightning strikes, Air New Zealand chief operational integrity standards officer, Captain David Morgan, said safety must come first.

"We ask customers to bear with us today as we manage through the effects of the weather and carry out these inspections," he said.

10:29am - According to Vector's Outage Map, power has been restored to Whangaparaoa, Piha and Helensville. 

There are still outages reported in Mangere, Clevedon, Piha, and Kelston

10:10am - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was stranded on Auckland Airport's tarmac this morning for 45 minutes.

Ms Ardern flew into Auckland for a bilateral meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in expected to be held at 10am.

10:02am - Metservice says weather is improving across Auckland, as the storm moves towards the Hauraki Gulf and Coromandel Peninsula.

The Bay of Plenty and Rotorua regions are still being warned there will be heavy and thundery showers for the next few hours.

9:58am - A shed in Mangere is believed to have burnt down after being hit by lightning.

Terry Jenner, senior station officer at Papatoetoe fire station, said authorities received several calls about what originally was assumed to be a house fire. However, upon arrival the building was found to be a shed.

No one is believed to have been occupying the building for "six or seven days".

Mr Jenner said fire engines have been racing around south Auckland since roughly 8:30am.

9:45am - Air New Zealand has confirmed a number of departures from Auckland airport have been cancelled. There are also delays expected to arrivals due to gate availability.

It is also believed the delays will cause significant flow on disruption across the national network.

Customers are advised to consider deferring non-urgent travel. The airline's contact centre is experiencing high levels of calls, so if the call is not urgent, customers are asked to also defer calling.

9:42am - A terrifying video has captured the moment lightning struck just metres away from an Auckland woman.

9:38am - Auckland Transport has advised that some traffic lights across the city are flashing amber. "When approaching these intersections please drive with care and use the giveway rule".

9:36am - St John has said the woman previously believed to be struck by lightning was instead injured in another way.

9:31am - There is poor visibility across the Viaduct Harbour from a SnapItHD camera.

9:26am - Vector has released a statement saying high levels of energy "injected into Vector's network by some of the lightning strikes have caused the network to trip". 

It advises that affected areas include Whangaparaoa, Piha, Laingholm, Oratia, Maraetai, Clevedon, and Helensville.

9:25am - Auckland Airport has told Newshub that no international flights have been delayed as a result of the thunderstorms.

9:20am - It is believed a woman has been struck by lightning in Mangere. St John attended the incident and the woman has been transported to Middlemore Hospital.

8:30am - MetService is warning west Aucklanders to stay inside if they are able to after reports of dozens of lightning strikes in the area.

Meteorologist James Millward said the "very active cold front" which swept across Hamilton on Monday was moving its way across Auckland on Tuesday morning, causing thunderstorms and widespread darkness.

As Auckland commuters hit rush hour traffic, Mr Millward advised west Aucklanders to stay inside if they can.

According to Weatherwatch, there were 872 lightning strikes between 6:30am and 8:30am across New Zealand.

The Bay of Plenty, Coromandel, East Cape, Manawatu are the next in line for thunderstorms.


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