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Deepening low pressure system set to impact country

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A low in the Tasman Sea to the northwest of the country is set to rapidly deepen and move towards the North Island on Thursday, before moving over central NZ during Friday. Weather impacts will be felt right across the North and upper South Island as a result of the low; the first significant system to affect the country since mid-September 2017.

‘This very dynamic system will bring heavy rain and 120km/h wind gusts to various parts of the country in the coming days’ commented MetService meteorologist James Millward, ‘combined with king tides, big swells and the number of people still on holidays around the country, the impacts from this event could be significant and wide-reaching.’

Persistent rain will spread south over the North Island from Thursday morning, reaching as far south as Canterbury by Thursday evening. Although rain will become patchier for Northland and Auckland into Friday, central and western parts of the North Island and eastern parts of the South Island will continue to be affected by persistent rainfall into Friday.

The heaviest falls are expected on Thursday over the upper North Island where the Bay of Plenty could see up to 150mm of rain about the ranges and Auckland as much as 90mm. The upper South Island will see most of its rain on Friday morning with the Kaikoura ranges expecting 100-150mm of rain.

The strongest winds associated with the system will be across the upper North Island with severe gale northeasterlies forecast in exposed places during Thursday. When the low crosses the country on Friday, a period of gale westerlies and southwesterlies will affect central parts of New Zealand.

With the strong winds comes large swells about the east coast of the upper North Island, from Northland to the Bay of Plenty. In combination with king tides, this may lead to coastal inundation in low lying areas, where waves could push further inland than normal and cover coastal roads, tracks and campsites. This risk is most elevated on Thursday evening and Friday morning but should ease by Friday evening.

‘With a system like this is important to keep up to date with the latest weather advice from MetService, especially if you are out and about’ Millward said, ‘popular holiday areas such as the Bay of Plenty and Coromandel could see very strong winds and heavy rainfall which would leave a lot of holiday-makers or those making their way back home very unhappy if caught unprepared!’.

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