Thunderstorms are expected to hit several parts of the country this evening, accompanied by rain.
MetService said there is a moderate risk of the storms passing over the Canterbury Plains into the evening.
There had already been numerous lightning strikes north of Ōamaru this afternoon – “not the last for today”, it said.
There is a similar risk of thunderstorms in Northland, the west of the North Island, Hawke’s Bay, Tairāwhiti, the Coromandel and Bay of Plenty.
Into the evening, “very unstable” conditions are likely to produce showers over much of the North Island.
MetService forecaster Gerard Bellam said the stormy weather was being driven by a cold front moving up the country.
“We can expect some heavy rain with falls of 10-20mm an hour, and some hail as well, with 5-15mm in diameter. That will pass through by nightfall.”