Surprise storm hits north Franklin
A sudden storm has sprung a surprise on Auckland, with barrelling thunder, hundreds of lightning strikes and large hailstones thumping the region on Tuesday.
There were 870 lightning strikes recorded across the country between 11am and 4.45pm on Tuesday, with 370 of those in Auckland, a MetService spokeswoman said.
A severe thunderstorm warning was in place for much of the day, but that was later downgraded to a watch, which was lifted just before 7.30pm.
The large number of lightning strikes prompted NIWA to issue a warning to get off the water.
The storm manifested itself in hyper-local pockets, with some Aucklanders not experiencing any of the rain, hail or thunder that struck other parts of the city.
Karaka resident Kelly Newby said her house was pelted by a 30-minute hailstorm before the sun came out again.
‘‘Its brilliant and sunny now but it came out of nowhere.
‘‘ It just pelted down massive stones of ice.
‘‘It looked like it had snowed – everything was blanketed in white.
‘‘They were really big, not quite golf ball-sized but some near enough.
‘‘It came in really thick, it was banging on the windscreen of the car windows and our downpipe from the guttering was frozen solid.
‘‘Our vege garden has been totally blown to bits, and our flower gardens have been pelted to pieces,’’ Newby said.
NIWA meteorologist Ben Knoll likened the pockets of extreme weather to popping popcorn.
‘‘Thunderstorms in the atmosphere are kind of like popcorn popping in a microwave.
‘‘You don’t know which kernel, or cloud, is going to pop first.
‘‘It’s that random. When the kernel pops it’s kind of like the cloud ballooning up into the atmosphere and blossoming out into a thunderstorm.
‘‘It’s due to the uneven heating of the land that we live on, some areas are going to get heated more than others and that leads to the destabilisation of the atmosphere.’’
NIWA principal scientist Chris Brandolino said these sorts of weather events are fairly common at this time of year.
‘‘Spring is really everything goes,’’ he said.
Karaka was pounded by a short and intense hailstorm.