Over 300,000 lightning strikes around NZ today

Over 300,000 lightning strikes occurred around New Zealand today as a weekend of wild weather continued.

Lightning on the Kapiti Coast, December 7, 2019. Source: Carina Toscano

According to NIWA, from midnight Friday there have been 872,000 recorded lightning strikes around the country and in the waters offshore.

Photographer Carina Toscano sent 1 NEWS an amazing picture of lightning strikes in the Kapiti Coast region last night.

It comes as much of the South Island has already received three times December's average monthly rainfall in a wet start to summer.

According to a newly released map by NIWA, recent deluges has seen tourist hotspots Queenstown and Wanaka among the places receiving "300% of normal" rainfall for the month.

"Most of the South Island has already received more than its monthly normal rainfall (in green)!

"The outlined area has observed more than 3x its monthly normal rainfall (in white)," NIWA outlined in a tweet this evening.

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Flooding has left tourists and locals stranded in South Canterbury. Source: 1 NEWS

Authorities say it could take up to 36 hours for at least one of the two bridges to be reconnected in Rangitata, Timaru District.

Until that time a state of emergency will remain in the region, with those stranded needing to be airlifted out.

A Civil Defence update says there are 970 tourists stuck in Franz Josef, with the State Highway that connects the West Coast due to be closed for "many weeks" due to damage on Mt Hercules.

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