Northlanders ‘nervous’ amid warnings of heavy rain and 100mph gales
Residents of Northland are feeling ‘nervous’ as they prepare for heavy rain and gales of up to 100km/h on Monday.
It comes after rain caused chaos in Northland throughout August, cutting off Kaitāia from the rest of the country and causing the closure of State Highway 1 at Mangamuka Gorge.
MetService issued a heavy rain warning until 3 p.m. Monday, covering parts of Northland north and east of a line from Kaitāia to Mangawhai, saying up to 60mm could fall over a period of six o’clock.
This is one of several weather warnings in place across the country.
* Aoraki/Mt Cook sets records for coldest winter temperature and highest rainfall
* How a huge weather data project could help predict tornado activity
* Rivers of rain in the snow, a “cruel fate” for the summit of the southern ski area
New Zealand transport agency Waka Kotahi is urging drivers in Northland, especially the Far North, to slow down, increase following distances and be aware of the possibility of slips, flooding and fallen trees.
For Andrea Panther, head of the Kaitāia Business Association, Monday’s weather warnings were cause for apprehension.
“It seems weird to say when you have months in the summer when you need rain, but we’re all a little nervous heading into today.
“Every drop of rain adds to the ground movement and puts us at risk of being blocked from the rest of the country again,” Panther said.
Far North Mayor John Carter was also concerned about the impact Monday’s weather would have on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s planned visit this week.
MetService said the strongest winds were expected in Northland from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Further into the country, a strong wind warning was in place for Taranaki from 9 p.m. Monday to 4 a.m. Tuesday.
MetService warned that strong gales could blow up to 120 km/h in exposed places.
A heavy snowfall warning was in place for the higher parts of Hawke’s Bay, southern Taupō and Taihape from 5 p.m. Monday to 5 a.m. Tuesday and for the beaches of Gisborne from 1 a.m. to 7 a.m. Tuesday .
On the other side of the country, the forecast called for snow near sea level during the day in Southland and southern Otago. Snow could fall in suburban Dunedin on Monday, and also drop to 200m around Christchurch on Monday evening.
There is also a chance of heavy snow in some central parts of the North Island on Monday night, with MetService advising that up to 20cm could fall on the desert road and 15cm on the Napier-Taupō road.
A small amount of snow is possible at the top of Remutaka Hill Road north of Wellington overnight and early Tuesday, and flurries are possible up to 100m on the Dunedin Highway at Waitati on Monday morning.
The rain is brought by a low pressure system coming out of the northern Tasman Sea and is expected to move east to southeast across the upper North Island from Monday to Tuesday.
The southerly winds announced in the north on Monday evening will mark the arrival of a cold snap that will cover the country for several days.
MetService said there was a chance of heavy snow Monday night in Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay and Taupō, from Matawai to Kaimanawa and Kaweka Forest Parks. Heavy snow is expected above 800m and some may fall up to 600m.
Strong winds on the Southland coast and southern Otago eased after knocking over shipping containers, uprooting trees, knocking out power supplies and causing some flights to be canceled on Sunday.
After being drenched in rain over the winter, Wellington has a chance to dry out this week, but a few showers are still expected. Winds from the south and southeast will cool the capital, with the temperature not expected to rise above 9°C on Tuesday, dropping to 3°C early Wednesday.
Temperatures in Christchurch were expected to reach just 9C on Monday and Tuesday. MetService is forecasting cold mornings – down to -2C early Tuesday and -3C early Wednesday.
In the Far North, southern swells are expected to develop around Cape Reinga later on Monday as the depression exiting the northern Tasman Sea crosses the northern North Island.
Southeast winds could be strong in the eastern parts of Bay of Plenty and Taupō, and in Taranaki on Monday night.