- A ‘“unstable rain band” is expected to cause weather havoc across the North Island.
- Auckland, Northland, Great Barrier Island, Coromandel Peninsula and Waikato are under severe thunderstorm watch.
- Northland, Coromandel, Gisborne and Bay of Plenty also have amber heavy rain warnings.
- New Zealand transport agency Waka Kotahi has warned that the Auckland Harbor Bridge could close on Monday.
It will be a rainy and stormy start to the week for most New Zealanders across the country, with a deluge of wintry weather hitting the North Island particularly hard.
Due to an “unstable band of rain”, Auckland, Great Barrier Island, the Coromandel Peninsula and the Waikato region were placed under severe thunderstorm watch until 9am Monday.
Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport has already advised Aucklanders traveling to the city center on Monday that high winds “have the potential to force lane closures on the Auckland Harbor Bridge”.
“Waka Kotahi has maintenance crews ready to close lanes on the bridge if wind gusts exceed safe operating thresholds,” the traffic organization said. “Drivers of high-sided vehicles and motorcyclists are encouraged to avoid the Auckland Harbor Bridge and use the Western Ring on Highways 16 and 18.”
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“Rainfall of this intensity can cause surface or flash flooding, especially in low-lying areas, which can lead to landslides,” MetService warned.
“Driving conditions will also be hazardous with surface flooding and poor visibility in heavy rain.”
There is a heavy rain warning in place for the Northland region until 9am Monday morning.
Northlanders can expect up to 120mm of rainfall, with the greatest accumulations likely in the north and east of the region.
The area is also under a strong wind watch, starting at 9 p.m. Sunday through 4 a.m. Monday morning, with winds “approaching severe gales in exposed locations,” MetService said.
Auckland’s Monday morning is guaranteed to start stormy, with a heavy rain watch, severe thunderstorm watch and strong wind watch in place for most of the day.
Strong northeasterly winds, possibly gale force, are forecast to blow at 90 km/h in exposed areas, but will subside to a lighter northerly around noon, and the rain will change to showers around at the same time.
The Coromandel Peninsula was placed under a heavy rain warning for 4 p.m. until 3 p.m. Monday.
Those in the area can expect up to 110mm, with peak rates of 25mm to 40mm per hour, during forecast thunderstorms.
Bay of Plenty, including Rotorua, is under a heavy rain warning for 21 hours from the early hours of Monday morning until midnight with up to 180mm of rain expected.
The central North Island will not escape the wet weather, with the Gisborne area from Ruatoria under a heavy rain warning from 9am Monday to 3am Tuesday.
Tongariro National Park will also be under heavy rain watch, starting at 4 a.m. Monday and continuing all day until 5 p.m.
The latest heavy rain watch, and the only one in the South Island, is in Tasman, west of Motueka, which is under watch from 3 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday.
MetService predicted a “period of rain, with heavy downpours possible” for the region.
The South Island will miss most of the wet weather, due to a “sheltered northern flow”, and may even “unplug the electric blanket this week”.