Hail batters Tasman District as severe thunderstorms sweep the region

Hail in Motueka.
Hail in Motueka. Photo credit: Supplied

A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for the Tasman District as heavy hail batters Motueka.

MetService issued the warning on Saturday afternoon, saying the severe thunderstorms are sweeping the South Island.

The storms were moving north-west and were expected to slam Abel Tasman National Park, Totaranui, Motueka, Tasman Bay and Kaiteriteri by 5pm.

Large hail and extremely heavy rain were expected and people are being urged to be aware of flash-flooding.

The hail could also cause significant damage to vehicles, crops and glasshouses and MetService says driving could be extremely hazardous. 

Motueka has already been slammed by hail with pictures supplied to Newshub showing swathes of white covering the ground.

The National Emergency Management Agency advises anyone who may be in the path of one of the oncoming storms should make sure any loose items around their homes are secured, and take shelter inside.

People should avoid streams and drains in case flash flooding sweeps them away, and anyone outdoors on the water should get back to land immediately.

The warning is due to be updated on Saturday evening.