Heavy rain has caused extensive flooding across Palmerston North and some roads are impassable.
Police are urging motorists to take care in the area.
They say some roads have become completely impassable, including Roberts Line, James Line, Fernlea Ave and Branigan Parade.
Police are asking motorists to avoid these areas and take alternative routes.
Radius Peppertree Rest Home and Hospital told 1 NEWS no-one is able to leave the property due to flooding on Roberts Line.
Manager Jill Job said she was leading a staff training session when the wild weather hit. Her team had to “fly around the facility” to close windows and doors for residents.
Job confirmed the road is too flooded to drive after thunder and lightning struck late this afternoon.
A witness speaking from Countdown Kelvin Grove (at the intersection of Roberts Line and Fernlea Ave) told 1 NEWS that rain came suddenly and continued for about an hour, but things are still operating as usual.
She said James Line and Royal Oak Dr are completely flooded, but other streets in the area remain accessible. Fire trucks have been seen draining water.
A Fire and Emergency spokesperson has told 1 NEWS crews have been called to four flooding related incidents in Palmerston North.
Crews are helping one household move their furniture due to flooding inside the home.
The spokesperson said there is serious flooding along Roberts Line and Mcleavy Drive and a number of cars have been flooded.
Crews are also carrying out “salvage work” at a Montessori in the town. It’s unclear at this point how serious the flooding is at the preschool.
She also told 1 NEWS lightning has struck a Fonterra building in Pahiatua, setting off the fire alarm and causing an evacuation. Power is out to parts of the building.
The spokesperson is urging people to be careful driving through surface flooding.
MetService rain radar shows moderate rainfall across the central North Island.
The forecaster says all the ingredients are in place for some significant afternoon thunderstorms over inland parts of both islands for the next few days.
Meteorologist Rob Kerr says northerlies are pushing warmer, moisture laden air over the country close to the surface, and a cold pool in the upper atmosphere is causing enough instability for severe thunderstorms to develop.
As a result, MetService has a Severe Thunderstorms Watch for today and Severe Thunderstorm Risk areas for parts of both islands during tomorrow.
Any region covered by a thunderstorm risk should prepare for localised downpours, Mr Kerr says.