Strong winds are set to lash the capital and up to a month’s worth of rain will hit the east coast of the North Island this weekend.
A heavy rain warning has been issued for eastern regions of the North Island with heavy falls due from dawn on Saturday, while sailings across Cook Strait could be disrupted as forecast southerlies whip through the centre of New Zealand today.
Civil Defence is warning those in eastern regions to prepare for a wet weekend and get supplies sorted ahead of the forecast deluge.
“While the east of the North Island looks wet, the west and south of the country look set to enjoy more settled weather this weekend, albeit with a cold start to the day on Saturday,” MetService meteorologist John Law said.
“There are still some severe weather watches in place, one for wind around the central parts of New Zealand today and one for the rain on the East Coast from this afternoon and into the weekend.”
There had been large temperature drops overnight, especially in the South Island this morning.
“Christchurch went from a high of 26.8C to just 6.8C overnight and Blenhiem’s high of 29.5C yesterday looks to be a far cry from the 17C maximum they are forecast today.”
Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne were now under a heavy rain warning for up to 30 hours of rain, due to start falling from 5am on Saturday.
MetService said up to 160mm of rain was expected to fall on the region, with downpours and thunderstorms on Saturday afternoon. It warned of surface flooding, slips and hazardous driving conditions.
A brief period of heavy rain was expected this afternoon.
Civil Defence groups for Tairāwhiti and Tolaga Bay today posted weather warnings for their communities.
“Just a reminder to sort your supplies for the weekend this morning. Things are expected to turn ugly this afternoon,” Uawa Civil Defence posted.
“It would pay to attend to your animals and property and check your supplies and emergency kits etc. A heavy rain band is expected.”
Tairāwhiti Civil Defence said a watch for the possibility of significant amounts of rain was now in force for parts of Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti/Gisborne.
“Rain with heavy falls is expected to develop during Friday, and continue through Saturday and into Sunday morning.”
MetService has also issued a strong wind watch for the bottom of the North Island and top of the South Island.
Southerly winds may approach severe gale in exposed parts of Wellington, Eastern Marlborough Sounds and the Kaikōura Coast from 2pm today.
“People are advised to take the normal precautions when there is a watch in place, such as tying down loose items and taking extra care on the roads, as some of those winds could approach severe gale, especially for spots exposed to the southerly.”
Interisland travel is expected to be affected as conditions in Cook Strait are forecast to deteriorate from midday Friday, with strong southerlies and large swells predicted to last until Saturday.
There is also a possibility that southerly gales may become severe about Wellington and Taranaki on Saturday.
“Those strong winds are also expected to generate large wave conditions in the lower North Island on Friday, extending to the eastern North Island on Saturday, with heights of 3 to 4 metres likely. Extra care is advised if anyone is planning to be near the water over the next couple of days.”