Weather: Tornado rips off roof in Greymouth as severe thunderstorms lash much of New Zealand

Wild weather is causing havoc around the country, with a destructive tornado tearing through Greymouth and ripping off a home's roof - while Aucklanders are warned lanes on the Harbour Bridge could close.  

Footage posted on social media shows the twister tearing off a home's roof as debris goes flying just after 8:30am on Monday in the Greymouth suburb of Cobden. The person who posted the video said the homeowner was "okay, but shaken". 

It comes as MetService warned a storm is lashing the country bringing rain, thunderstorms and gale-force winds. 

A screenshot of the footage of the tornado posted online.
A screenshot of the footage of the tornado posted online. Photo credit: Facebook/NZ Stormchasers Group

New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) issued an alert warning Auckland commuters to take extra care on the Harbour Bridge with heavy wind gusts predicted between 4pm and 6pm. 

Speed limits may be reduced and some lanes on the bridge may close if wind gusts reach threshold levels. The bridge will remain in a 4 x 4 formation during the afternoon peak, NZTA said.  

The wild weather is also affecting Wellington, with footage emerging showing a truck's trailer unit being blown over by the wind on the Remutaka Hill. 

This saw one lane closed at around 10am on the south side near the summit and police issued a warning to drivers to avoid the Remutaka Hill. 

"High winds are making it increasingly difficult to travel over the hill," police said. "Police recommend delaying travel, taking alternative routes and extra care, driving to the conditions." 

MetService meteorologist Juliane Bergbolt told Newshub the big worry for them at the moment is the thunderstorms expected on Monday.   

"We're expecting quite heavy rain with that, so even if you're not hearing the thunder, we're still expecting heavy rain and potentially downpours," Bergbolt said. "That's on top of all of the rain those areas have had from yesterday [Sunday]."  

A severe thunderstorm watch is in place from 10am to 6pm on Monday for Waikato, Waitomo, Taumarunui, Taupō, Hawkes Bay, Taranaki, Taihape, Wanganui, Manawatu, Tararua, Kāpiti-Horowhenua, Wairarapa, Wellington and Marlborough.

The forecasting agency warns these areas could see localised downpours of 25 to 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. Driving conditions will also be hazardous with surface flooding and poor visibility in heavy rain," MetService warned. 

MetService has also issued weather warnings and watches for the majority of the country.   

A heavy rain watch has been issued for Mount Taranaki, the Tararua Range from Monday morning until the evening with up to 100mm of rain expected.   

"Heavy rain may cause streams and rivers to rise rapidly. Surface flooding and slips are also possible and driving conditions may be hazardous," MetService said.   

Strong wind is also expected to lash the Canterbury High Country with an orange warning in place until 10am on Monday.  

Severe gale northwesterlies are expected to gust up to 120km/h in exposed places.  

"Strong wind gusts could damage trees, powerlines and unsecured structures. Driving may be hazardous, especially for high-sided vehicles and motorcycles," MetService said.   

But the good news for Kiwis is the wild weather isn't expected to last.

Most of the country should be impacted by the autumn storm throughout Monday before it eases on Tuesday.