WELLINGTON, May 20 (Xinhua) -- A tornado swept through the town of Levin, some 90 km north of the New Zealand capital Wellington, leaving trees downed and roofs torn apart from houses early morning of Friday, local media reported.
Local Civil Defence warned local residents to avoid travel unless absolutely necessary while power lines were brought down and state highway was closed until further notice.
A serious lightning display also hit the Kapiti Coast district of the Wellington region while strong gale and blustery rain descending on New Zealand's largest city Auckland forced a temporary closure of the Harbour Bridge, media reports said.
According to Metservice, New Zealand's national weather authority, the extreme weather has slammed almost the whole country and will continue this weekend.
"More than 4,297 lightning strikes around New Zealand and the Tasman Sea since 12 a.m. Friday. Thunderstorms are moving into the western North Island this morning, signalling the arrival of a cooler, unstable air mass," it said.