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Rain And Strong Winds To Hit Holiday Makers Around NZ

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Rain And Strong Winds To Hit Holiday Makers Around NZ

Wellington, Dec 27 NZPA - Campers are being warned that rivers could rise rapidly in many parts of the country and to prepare for strong winds as a moist northwesterly flow sweeps across the country today and tomorrow ahead of a cold front.

The MetService has issued several severe weather warnings, predicting very heavy rain about the South Island's West Coast, the Southern Alps and Otago today and early tomorrow, spreading to the southern and central North Island on Tuesday. Severe northerly gales are expected about central New Zealand on Tuesday.

As much as 500mm of rain is predicted to fall in Westland and 200mm to 300mm of rain may fall on parts of Buller, Nelson, the Tararua ranges, Mt Taranaki, and also the headwaters of the Canterbury and Otago rivers.

Other areas which can expect heavy rain during the next couple of days include Marlborough, Wellington, the central North Island, and the ranges of eastern Bay of Plenty.

"This heavy rain will cause river and stream levels to rise rapidly, and there may be slips, surface flooding and poor visibility making driving conditions hazardous," the MetService said.

Roger Ball, manager Civil Defence emergency management for Nelson and Tasman, said his organisation was alerting Police, the Fire Service, district health boards and the Department of Conservation ahead of the weather event as the predicted rainfalls were "getting up there".

"We do get heavy weather warnings -- this one stands out more because of the volume and intensity coming through in our region," he said.

"My message to people in the Nelson and Tasman region is be aware of this. We have a lot of campers and people in the bush. They should watch out for rapidly rising streams.

"You need to be not near rivers tonight," he said.

The population of parts of the Nelson and Tasman triples during the summer holiday season.

"We are not in the business of telling people to cancel holidays. We are saying be aware of your surroundings," he said.

People should spread the message of caution to anyone they knew camping or intending to go into the ranges.

Kaiteriteri Beach Motor Camp manager Rob Guild said his campground had 1800 people staying in the high season.

"We get a downfall every year but it drains quickly," he said. "We will ride it out," he said.

Weatherwatch.co.nz said the winds would be strong enough to rip tents and may be strong enough to bring down heavy branches.

The good news was that the weather system was moving quickly and the first week of the New Year was expected to be mostly sunny, settled and dry across New Zealand.

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