Weather: Northland hit by showers and gusty winds, 100khp winds could close Harbor Bridge as storm lands
- Heavy rain has started to fall in Northland, with wind gusts of 95km/h reported.
- Bus and ferry services in Auckland are likely to be delayed Tuesday morning due to gusty winds.
- More than 40 weather warnings have been issued across the country.
- Severe weather is expected overnight and into Tuesday morning.
The bad weather that is expected to cover most of the country started with showers and gusting winds of 95 km / h in Northland.
MetService issued more than 40 weather warnings nationwide, through Tuesday afternoon.
Northland was currently being hit by heavy rain and high winds, MetService forecaster Aidan Pyselman said, but that was “just the beginning” of the bad weather.
Pyselman said the heavy rain and wind were moving south across the country and Auckland could expect wind gusts of 110km/h overnight.
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MetService issued a strong wind warning for the Auckland Harbor Bridge on Tuesday morning, which could potentially impact morning commuters.
Auckland Transport has asked bus and ferry commuters in the city to consider delaying Tuesday morning travel due to strong winds.
Rachel Cara, real time and response manager, said that even if there was no complete closure of the Harbor Bridge, bus services could still be affected by the precautions put in place.
“When the wind reaches the levels we expect tomorrow morning, we expect to see disruption to our Northern Express services, as well as buses traveling from Glenfield, Beach Haven and Takapuna.
“We are also asking ferry passengers to check whether their services are still operating as usual, as ferry operators often cancel trips or substitute by road depending on conditions.”
Bay of Plenty, Rotorua and Mount Taranaki could expect up to 120mm of rain from 10pm Monday at a peak rate of 25mm per hour, and in Gisborne there would be up to 150mm at a peak rate of 30mm per hour starting at 8 p.m., MetService said.
Marlborough, including the Kaikoura coast, should expect up to 140mm of rain at a peak rate of 25mm per hour from 3am, and there are snowfall warnings for the south from Canterbury, North and Central Otago and some of the highest passes.
Meteorologist Lewis Ferris said the intensity would increase overnight and into Tuesday, but the good news was the storm would move fairly quickly. The bad news was that the rainfall would be so intense that it could cause damage.
“In the last seven days we’ve already seen two weather systems move over the country, so the grounds are going to be soggy,” he said.
“With the next episode of heavy rain and strong winds, it is possible that impacts will happen more quickly – like slips, or falling trees, or the risk of power cuts with wind and rain together. “
While the rain was likely to ease on Wednesday, there was more rain expected to hit from the north on Thursday and Friday, he said.
“It’s not a perfect start to the school holidays,” Ferris said. “The focus of the week will be to keep the kids happy indoors.”
Civil Defense is urging people not to report surface flooding and to keep the line open for those in need of assistance as the weather deteriorates.
Christchurch City Council Civil Defense and Emergency Management Director Brenden Winder said the roads would deal with the pooling of water on them and it would run off once the rain stopped.
“Forecasts for Tuesday suggest we could receive up to 125 millimeters of rain on the Banks Peninsula and 50 to 75 millimeters of rain in Christchurch and the Port Hills,” he said. “The heavy rains will coincide with higher than normal tides, so it is likely that we will have flooding in low-lying coastal areas and around rivers.”
Winder said Canterbury Civil Defense was taking “usual precautions” to minimize flooding and had staff and contractors ready to respond, but people in flood-prone areas should start preparing and people on hills should be aware of slip hazards.
“Conditions are likely to be worse on the Banks Peninsula than in the city. Strong winds will accompany rain on the Banks Peninsula and higher areas may even receive snow,” he said.
“If you must drive through a pool of water, please go as slowly as possible so you don’t push the water onto people’s property and cause damage.”
The storm is believed to contain an atmospheric river – a long, thin storm system, typically five times as long as it is wide, and capable of delivering twice as much precipitation as a normal storm.