Severe thunderstorm warning issued for parts of NZ

Source: 1News

Severe thunderstorm warnings have been issued for the west coast of both the North and South Islands with heavy rain and strong winds set to strike the country over the next few days.

Rainy weather (file image).

MetService says the West Coast of the South Island is expected to receive periods of heavy rain throughout Friday, with heavy snow expected above 900 metres, although snow may fall as low as 600 metres at times if not lower.

Thunderstorm activity is expected to increase on the West Coast on Friday afternoon and continue through until midnight, with severe winds greater than 110km/h, hail and even tornadoes possible alongside heavy rain and snow.

Wind gusts of this strength can cause damage to trees and power lines and can make driving hazardous.

MetService has also issued a thunderstorm warning for Wellington, Kapiti-Horowhenua and Marlborough for a period of seven hours from 11pm on Friday to 6am on Saturday.

These thunderstorms are expected to bring heavy rain, hail, strong winds gusting 90 to 110km/h and the possibility of tornadoes.

It comes just a day after the same region was struck by a probable tornado, damaging homes and businesses.

Further north, another thunderstorm watch has been issued for Taranaki, Manawatu and the southern Waikato between 2am on Saturday to 11am on Saturday. Similar conditions are expected to that in Wellington.

Meanwhile, in Auckland, some lanes on the Auckland Harbour Bridge may be closed as a result of high winds in the city on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.

Waka Kotahi warned they "will not hesitate to close the bridge completely" if the winds become too strong.

1News meteorologist Dan Corbett says there is a chance high winds could see Auckland's Harbour Bridge closed for a time on Saturday morning, with a smaller likelihood it may be affected on Friday afternoon into the evening.