Hail hits parts of Hawke’s Bay as storm moves along East Coast

Many gardens in Hawke’s Bay were blanketed in thick white ‘marble’-sized hailstones as a storm moved across the east coast on Wednesday.

Ginny Seccombe, a woman from Hastings, rushed to check her car for damage after the 10-minute hailstorm.

As she escaped, one of her boys who was walking outside was unfortunately hit in the head and said it hurt badly.

MetService issued a heavy rain and severe thunderstorm watch earlier Wednesday morning for parts of Hawke’s Bay, Tararua and Wairarapa.

* Slips, possible flooding as a heavy rain warning is in place for eastern Bay of Plenty
* Severe weather warning in place for Bay of Plenty
* Weather: the slow front brings heavy rain for the week ahead

Hail blankets Ginny Seccombe's garden in Hastings.

Ginny Seccombe/Supplied

Hail blankets Ginny Seccombe’s garden in Hastings.

Heavy showers this afternoon are expected to bring downpours of 25-40mm of rain per hour and heavy accumulations of hail. There was also a “moderate risk” of severe thunderstorms between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Seccombe said she could hear the storm about 30 minutes before it hit, adding that the lightning and ensuing thunder was so loud it was hard to hear inside.

“It was awful,” she said, adding that it was unlike anything she had experienced before living in Hawke’s Bay or Auckland.

A front over the North Island that brought heavy rain to eastern Bay of Plenty appeared to be moving further east, MetService said.

This was followed by a complex trough over central New Zealand and the Tasman Sea, bringing further rains and possible heavy falls to eastern and northern areas.

The storm rolls over Napier on Wednesday afternoon.

Gianina Schwanecke / Stuff

The storm rolls over Napier on Wednesday afternoon.

Motorists were urged to be careful as rain of this intensity can lead to poor visibility and flooding, especially in low lying areas such as streams, rivers or narrow valleys, and can also lead to slips.

A 24-hour heavy rain watch is also in place for Hawke’s Bay from 9 p.m. Thursday, with rainfall amounts possibly exceeding warning criteria at the beaches.

Gisborne is also under a rain watch from 4 p.m. Thursday to 3 p.m. Friday.

An earlier heavy rain warning for Bay of Plenty to the east of Whakatāne has been lifted, with heavy rain reported to be easing.

However, a further 10-20mm is expected to accumulate through midday today, on top of the 40-60mm that has already fallen, particularly on the ranges.

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