Huge sequence of lightning in Fiordland, Southland

The West Coast of the South Island is being hammered by rain and lightning – with 13,000 strikes recorded in 12 hours.

A MetService meteorologist said in total there had been about 13,000 lightning strikes over both land and sea in the area in the last 12 hours, with more than 2000 in one two-hour period this morning.

It expects Southland will experience more lightning strikes today as heavy rain continues in the region.

MetService said a few weather stations on the coast have recorded half a metre of rainfall in the past few days and 200 millimetres more is forecast for the rest of the weekend.

A heavy rain warning has been issued for Fiordland, Westland, and the ranges of Buller and Nelson.

North of Fox Glacier is bearing the brunt of the poor weather, with Fiordland and the Nelson ranges also affected.

The storm is slowly moving up the country and it is expected to reach the North Island early next week, posing a thunderstorm risk to much of the island. Meanwhile, there is a moderate risk for thunderstorms in Wairarapa today.

Eastern areas of the country are experiencing very warm temperatures today.

A strong wind watch is also in place for much of the east coast of both islands.

MetService said smoke from the was also being carried across to New Zealand by strong norwest winds.

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