The West Coast has been hit by around 9,00o lightning strikes
© MetServiceThe West Coast has been hit by around 9,000 lightning strikes
The West Coast had around 9000 lightning strikes as a thunderstorm and heavy rain worked its way up the South Island.

Rain earlier in the day caused a number of slips on State Highway 6, including between Whataroa and Haast, Westport and Greymouth, and at Barrytown, but the road is now open.

MetService forecaster Cameron Coutts said most of the lightning strikes were out to sea.

He said the the heavy rain warning for Buller was lifted at 5pm, but the West Coast was in for more heavy rain on Sunday, particularly around Fiordland.

The downpours came ahead of warnings of gales and heavy rain from Cyclone Gita, expected to make its way to New Zealand early next week.