Boxing Day weather: Severe thunderstorms dump hail and cause flash flooding

Summer thunderstorms dumped heavy hail and torrential rain caused flash flooding this afternoon in the upper South Island.

The severe storm struck parts of the Tasman District just before 4pm, with campers on the Abel Tasman National Park and holiday hotspot Kaiteriteri in line for a direct hit.

Heavy hail blanketed Motueka, with one Motueka Valley resident saying homes had lost power as the powerful storm lashed the region.

“There’ll be huge damage to any orchard in its path.”

Kate Gaskell sent photos of the golden sand Tata Beach in Golden Bay being turned white as the summer holiday destination was transformed into a wintry wonderland.

Video footage showed melting hail flooding Motueka streets after the storm moved on.

The MetService issued a severe thunderstorm warning for parts of the Tasman District.

Thunderstorms were detected at 3.45pm near Motueka, Ngatimoti, Riwaka and Lower Moutere.

At 4.15pm, the severe weather was detected near Abel Tasman National Park, Tasman Bay and holiday hotpot Kaiteriteri.

They were moving north-northwest and were expected to lie near Abel Tasman National Park, Motueka, Totaranui and Tasman Bay at 5.15pm.

“These thunderstorms are expected to be accompanied by very heavy rain and large hail.

“Very heavy rain can cause surface and/or flash flooding about streams, gullies and urban areas, and make driving conditions extremely hazardous.

“Large hail can cause significant damage to crops, orchards, vines, glasshouses and vehicles, and make driving conditions hazardous.”

The severe thunderstorm warning was eventually lifted but a thunderstorm watch remains in place for the western Tasman Bay and Golden Bay areas till 7pm.

Unseasonably cold temperatures can be expected throughout many parts of New Zealand this weekend as southerly winds bring rain.

Temperatures are set to plummet for many.

Ashburton’s high for today is only expected to reach 13C – 8C below average for this time of year.

And it will be a winter wonderland for the South Island, as snow is forecast to fall to 1000 metres.

A low weather system over North Canterbury this morning is expected to deepen, spreading rain and strong southerly winds over coastal parts of the region.

The heaviest rainfalls are expected about Banks Peninsula. MetService has issued a weather watch for the area, which might reach a warning level.

Generally, the weather in the South Island is the opposite from the North Island, with showery weather in the south and fine conditions in the north.

However, Northland and Auckland can expect a few morning showers before breaking out into mainly fine weather.

The Coromandel Peninsula to Manawatū, including Bay of Plenty and the central high country is mainly fine, but there will be a few showers in the west.

Conditions are fine at first before showers from afternoon or evening with possible thunderstorms in Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay.

There are fine spells and a few showers for Horowhenua, Kapiti, Wellington and Wairarapa. Thunderstorms are possible this morning about Wellington and Kapiti.

Marlborough, Nelson, and Buller will have showers and fine spells. Showers will be more frequent and heavier from this afternoon.

Westland is fine before heavy showers appear inland from the afternoon.

Periods of rain will sometimes be heavy and thunderstorms are possible about the Canterbury high country this afternoon.

Otago, Southland, and Fiordland can expect scattered showers this morning before they ease in the afternoon.

On Sunday, there will be scattered rain or showers developing for most in the North Island, with cold southerlies in the south and east.

In the South Island, conditions are partly cloudy or fine for most.

Canterbury through to Marlborough can expect rain and cold southerlies. Nelson and Buller will get a few afternoon showers.

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