Unusual cloud formation spotted over Taupō

The funnel cloud.
The funnel cloud. Photo credit: Supplied/ Amy Mander

A young woman holidaying in Taupō says she felt like she was in a movie as a funnel cloud formed in front of her eyes.

Seventeen year old Amy Mander told Newshub she was enjoying her break away from Auckland when she saw the unusual cloud formation forming overhead. 

"We were at the waterfront at about 3.30pm and all of a sudden we look up and there's this huge cloud just spiralling down towards land - from where we were standing it looked like it was moving really fast!"

She told Newshub the scene was like "something out of a movie".

"It was a bit surreal - everyone was getting out of their cars and looking up at it."

Video of the cloud posted on Twitter by NIWA Weather says it's a funnel cloud - the precursor to a tornado.

Funnel clouds extend from the base of a regular cloud without ever touching the ground. 

Water droplets are drawn in by rotating winds, making a region of intense low pressure visible to the naked eye - if this funnel touches the ground, it can produce a tornado.

Mander says despite the storm cloud, Taupō 's weather has been humid and clear for the most part.

The region is currently under a severe thunderstorm watch until 10pm, with Metservice warning Taupō could see torrential downpours and hail up to 20mm.