Extreme Weather in New Zealand on January 27 2018 05:02 AM (UTC).
More than 1000 lightning strikes have hit the Waikato region in a stormy start to the weekend. MetService duty meteorologist Sarah Haddon said there had been a very active area of thunderstorms across the Bay of Plenty and Taupo, moving over the Waikato on Friday evening. Between 8-9pm there was 14.8mm of rain over Hamilton, as well as bursts of hail. MetService recorded 11,325 lightning strikes across the North Island as of 7.30pm. MetService said this storm had carried the most lightning strikes recorded in one day this year. But the storm was starting to weaken over Waikato and was tracking northwest as of 10pm, Haddon said. Auckland was in for some rain on Saturday, but thunderstorms were unlikely. Humid air has fuelled the recent spate of thunderstorms around the country. Some areas are likely to hit 40 degrees next week. "It's what we call an unstable atmosphere. There's a lot of energy wrapped up in that humid air, that moist air. So it can sort of shoot up and be released as a thunderstorm," meteorologist April Clark said. "The humid air - it's counter intuitive - but it can set off or allow any showers to turn into something a bit bigger than your run-of-the-mill shower passing by." And hot, humid weather isn't going away anytime soon. "There's no huge pattern change looking to come. We've had changes, but that humid air has stuck around. "It's looking like it's sticking around for quite a while." Rain, hail and surface flooding means driving conditions could be dangerous, MetService warns.