The government forecaster, MetService, has today issued almost 20 severe weather warnings ahead of the incoming overnight storm. WeatherWatch.co.nz says the low has started to deepen this morning over the Tasman Sea today and will rapidly deepen to storm status before the day is up.
WeatherWatch.co.nz head weather analyst Philip Duncan says the storm will bring both heavy rain and severe gales - but he believes the wind could cause more issues. "The rain will be heavy, especially for the lower half of the North Island and upper South Island, but it's really the winds which will be far reaching with severe gales expected in most regions for a time on Saturday".
Mr Duncan says the incoming storm is not only rapidly deepening but it will also rapidly cross the country - meaning heavy rain won't linger for northern and southern regions of the country and instead will be more focused to central New Zealand. "It's a short, sharp, nasty blast of weather".
MetService has this morning issued 19 severe land warnings with predictions of winds gusting to 150km/h for coastal Wairarapa, Nelson region and Marlborough and gusts up to 140km/h in Taranaki. Gusts to 120km/h are predicted for surrounding regions.
Mr Duncan says the worst of the winds will be around the centre of the storm. "This is not a tropical cyclone but it does have some similarities - one being the centre is usually fairly calm and the other being that the very worst of the winds will be wrapped around the outer edges of the centre - which will cross the lower North Island".
WeatherWatch.co.nz predicts the centre of the low will brush Taranaki and end up crossing the lower North Island tracking eastwards, somewhere around Wanganui, Palmerston North and Napier.
And eerie, gloomy, calm has descended over much of the North Island this morning and WeatherWatch.co.nz says things may not change a great deal this afternoon, as the low is yet to really crank up.
Windier conditions will move in fairly quickly this evening and in the early hours of Saturday morning.
For northern regions, such as Auckland, the skies may clear fairly quickly on Saturday if the winds turn more southerly during the afternoon.
By Saturday night the winds will already start to ease with sunny, calmer weather moving in for Sunday - although some exposed coastal areas may still be fairly windy during the day.
By Monday most of New Zealand will be settled under a ridge of high pressure with light winds almost everywhere.
"It may be short but this system is very aggressive and may be one of the nastier lows we see in New Zealand this year" says Philip Duncan. "Friday afternoon will be a good time to clear gutters, bring in outdoor furniture and boaties should urgently secure moorings ahead of the gales".
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