Weather: Thunderstorms, lightning, heavy downpours forecast for Monday afternoon

Another bout of thunderstorms, lightning strikes and heavy downpours is forecast to belt the North Island on Monday as ominous clouds build up.

More than 1800 lightning strikes were recorded in just two hours on Sunday as severe weather lashed the country.

MetService warns New Zealand faces another round today as warm afternoon temperatures, atmospheric instability and sea breeze convergences all combine.

"Daytime cloud buildups are expected to produce scattered heavy showers and thunderstorms about the central North Island this afternoon and evening," it says.

"These thunderstorms will be accompanied by localised heavy rain and possibly small hail."

MetService has issued a severe thunderstorm watch between 3pm and 10pm for the affected areas, as some may be severe in northern and eastern Waikato, inland Bay of Plenty (including Rotorua), Taupo and inland parts of Gisborne and northern Hawke's Bay.

These storms could mean localised downpours of as much as 25-40mm/h.

"Rainfall of this intensity can cause surface and/or flash flooding, especially about low-lying areas such as streams, rivers or narrow valleys, and may also lead to slips," MetService says.

"Driving conditions will also be hazardous with surface flooding and poor visibility in heavy rain."