Hordes flock to beaches and parks as Boxing Day thunderstorms forecast

Thunderstorms loom for beachgoers in parts of the North Island. (File photo)

Chris McKeen/Stuff

Thunderstorms loom for beachgoers in parts of the North Island. (File photo)

Boxing Day beachgoers are being warned to keep one eye on the skies as localised thunderstorms and tornadoes remain a possibility for parts of the North Island.

For most, the outlook is good, but for areas north of Taumarunui the MetService has issued a severe thunderstorm watch running from 2pm through to 9pm on Monday.

The warning said scattered thunderstorms are expected to bring localised heavy rain and hail to parts of the central and northern North Island.

MetService meteorologist April Clark said while the thunderstorms would be “very localised”, they could also pose a threat to those who were unprepared, as they could bring lightning strikes, flash flooding and a low risk of tornadoes.

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Driving conditions can also become hazardous with surface flooding and poor visibility in heavy rain, she said.

“It’s quite hard to know where or when it will happen,” she said.

“It’s like when you put popcorn on the hob, you just don’t know which kernel is going to pop first, but you know it will happen.”

For those in most parts of the country who avoid downpours, the temperature will hover around the mid-20s, with a cool breeze coming through later in the day.

Andy MacDonald / Stuff

Taranaki lifeguards offer advice about rips and how to stay safe in the water this summer.

The need to slip, slop, slap and wrap will remain as the UV index is set to be “extreme” according to Niwa’s UV measuring index.

Tuesday should see a drop in temperature by as much as 10 degrees in Canterbury, although it should heat up again by Wednesday.

Christmas Day saw police turning revellers away from Auckland’s Long Bay after the beach was filled to capacity.

Although an Auckland Council spokesperson said, by late morning on Boxing Day, Long Bay and other regional parks had not yet been over-run.

Police have also asked that visitors drinking alcohol avoid swimming.

“Alcohol and water don’t mix and can have fatal consequences,” a spokesperson said.

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