30 Apr 2023

Wild weather: Five regions under heavy rain warning

9:28 pm on 30 April 2023
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Photo: MetService

MetService has issued gale warnings for the upper-North Island's coastline, with some Northland households without power overnight as heavy rain hits the region.

Five areas of the country are now under orange heavy rain warnings as the latest bout of bad weather sweeps in.

Orange warnings are in place over all marine areas north of New Plymouth and Bay of Plenty.

Strong wind advisories are also in place over the Manukau and Waitematā Harbours.

Auckland Transport cancelled eight of its Gulf Harbour ferry services. Services will continue to be affected tomorrow, it said on Twitter.

In Northland more than 1000 households were without power as severe rain hits the region.

Electricity provider Top Energy reported nine unplanned outages throughout the region affecting customers in the Kapiro, Puketi, Ohaeawai, Towai, Pokapu and Opononi areas, it said in a post on Facebook.

"It has been a huge effort from the teams to reduce the number of outages from a peak of around 4500 customers earlier today."

Waipapa resident Monique Edwards said the Northland region has had high winds and heavy rain throughout the day.

She said her home was struck by a tree during Cyclone Gabrielle, and the thought of more damage was scary.

"Pretty anxious - this is a lot more rain than we got for the cyclone [when] we actually got more wind than rain. We've got torches ready; our cellphones are charged, just waiting it out and just hoping like heck it doesn't get any worse," she said.

State Highway One is closed southbound between Warkworth and Wellsford in northern Auckland, due to a slip. Waka Kotahi has asked motorists to use Woodcocks Road, West Coast Road and State Highway 16 instead.

The southbound route will remain closed overnight, Waka Kotahi said this evening, with the road condition to be assessed on Monday morning.

Some areas of Northland received rainfall of 50 millimetres and winds of up to 87 kilometres per hour last night and this morning.

Forecaster Aidan Pyselman said the rough weather will continue through the night and into the morning.

He said there will be a lot more rain in Northland, Auckland, the Coromandel and parts of the Bay of Plenty.

He expected up to 220mm of rain to accumulate in Bay of Plenty within the next few days.

He said a high anchored in the east was blocking the system from moving along, causing it to linger.

Pyselman said people should also brace for some thunderstorms and strong winds.

He said this sort of weather would usually pass over the country fairly quickly, but this particular system could linger for days.

Strong wind watches are in force for Northland, north Auckland, Great Barrier Island and Coromandel.

There is also a strong winds warning in place for the Auckland Harbour Bridge and Waka Kotahi is urging motorists to take care.

Auckland Emergency Management said it was actively monitoring the weather.

Duty controller Rachel Kelleher said they had done preparatory work to make sure civil defence shelters were available when needed.

Meteorologist Mmathapelo Makgabutlane said the low pressure system will continue to move south, bringing the weather conditions to more areas.

Wind gust up to 100km/hr an hour in Coromandel

Coromandel authorities are monitoring intense rain overnight, fearing the region could be facing another severe weather event.

Thames-Coromandel Civil Defence Controller Garry Towler said he was feeling nervous as the severe storm lingers over the upper North Island.

Towler said the region was still fragile after Cyclone Gabrielle, and more rain was the last thing they needed.

He said Civil Defence will decide how to proceed in the morning.

Earlier today the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula took a battering as severe weather swept down from Northland.

Towler said winds were gusting 100km/hr from Whangamata to Whitianga.

He said in some places, trees had fallen onto roads and crews were busy clearing slips.

People should prepare and make plans as the bad weather could last up to a week.

Northland Civil Defence and Bay of Plenty officials said there have been no major problems in their regions so far.

People have been asked to to keep an eye out for the marine conditions, and to be mindful of high waves along exposed coastlines.

Vector said it had been monitoring the electricity network overnight, as heavy rain and high winds began sweeping into Auckland in the early hours.

The lines company said suburbs that had overhead powerlines were at most risk from the latest bout of bad weather.

Chief operations officer Peter Ryan said crews had been on standby overnight and Vector was monitoring the state of the network 24/7.

"We'll be dispatching crews into the field whenever we get significant loss of outage, safety being paramount - some of the work we do can really only safely be conducted during daylight hours."