Two planes struck by lightning in morning of wild weather

Passengers were left "upset and unwell" after their flight from Hamilton to Wellington was struck by lightning on Sunday.

A passenger on flight NZ5813 told Newshub the flight had already been diverted when the terrifying incident occurred.

"We got turned away from landing in Wellington due to lightning strikes, so we were headed to Palmerston North," Katrina McBeath told Newshub.

The flight path of NZ5813.
The flight path of NZ5813. Photo credit: FlightRadar24

"[It was] very turbulent then there was a huge bang and flash of orange light. It hit the left side."

Fortunately no one was injured during that rough period of flight and the plane landed safely in Palmerston North. Passengers were then provided with a bus to take them to Wellington.

"That was about the roughest flight I've been on. Lightning right next to us, hell of a bang. Upset and unwell people. Diverted, Wellington-style landing in Palmy," Twitter user Adam Couper posted on Sunday morning.

McBeath's flight wasn't the only plane to be struck by lightning today as the wild weather forced flight NZ681 from Wellington to Dunedin to be diverted to Christchurch.

An Air New Zealand spokeswoman told NZME the lightning strikes were something their pilots planned for.

"Lightning strikes are not uncommon. Aircraft are designed with this in mind and our pilots train for this scenario," she said.

The weather system that struck Wellington this morning, described by the MetService as a "thundery band" - resulted in at least 19mm of rain in the Kelburn area.