Severe thunderstorm watch in place for parts of North Island

MetService has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for parts of the North Island this afternoon.

Thunderstorms moving over North Island. Source: MetService

The watch is in place for Waikato, Waitomo, Taumarunui, Taranaki, Taihape and Wanganui. The threat period is from 2:25pm to 8pm tonight.

A line of thunderstorms is approaching the west of the North Island, and are expected to affect western areas this afternoon and evening.

"These thunderstorms are expected to bring localised heavy rain, small hail and strong wind gusting 90 to 110 km/h," MetService said.

"There is a also moderate risk that some of these thunderstorms could become severe, producing localised damaging winds with gusts greater than 110 km/h.

"Wind gusts of this strength can cause some structural damage, including trees and power lines, and may make driving hazardous."

Loud peels of thunder also rang out in Auckland CBD around 3pm with dark rain clouds moving in.