5 Dec 2023

Severe thunderstorms, heavy rain on the cards for Auckland, Northland and Tai Rāwhiti

6:49 pm on 5 December 2023
No caption

Photo: Unsplash / Erik Witsoe

MetService has lifted severe thunderstorm warnings and watches issued earlier for parts of Northland and the Auckland region, as a "line of severe thunderstorms" crossed the top of the North Island.

The forecaster upgraded its previous 'watch' to a 'warning' at 3.49pm on Tuesday, valid for just under an hour, for Kaipara, Whangarei and the Far North.

"At 3.45pm, MetService weather radar detected a line of severe thunderstorms lying from Mititai to Tutamoe to Kaitaia," it said. "This line of severe thunderstorms is moving towards the southwest, and is expected to lie from Te Kopuru to Waipoua Forest to Ahipara 4.15pm."

Half an hour later, the storms were expected to be over Dargaville and off the coast of Ninety Mile Beach, "accompanied by torrential rain" which could "cause surface and/or flash flooding about streams, gullies and urban areas, and make driving conditions extremely hazardous".

At 4.43pm, MetService lifted the warning. A thunderstorm watch remained in place for both Northland and Auckland, but was lifted at 6.37pm.

"Still got a few hours of heavy rain and possible thunderstorms across Northland and northern parts of Auckland," duty forecaster Heath Gullery told Checkpoint just before 6pm, "and… heavy rain coming across the Kaipara and Wellsford areas for the next hour or so, next hour-and-a-half, with some rain further south across Auckland city, but that heavier rain as expected up north near Kaipara."

Kaitaia Airport recorded 18.6mm of rain in the hour to 1pm, MetService said earlier.

Thursday should be nicer, Gullery said, but still with "garden variety cloudy periods and the odd shower pushing through".

"We've got a low sitting out just north of the country. It's bringing in some bringing in rain across the top half of the North Island. And it's worth noting as well we are expecting some heavy rain across Gisborne tonight and tomorrow morning, where a heavy rain watch is in place."

There had been no reports of flooding yet, but with up to 30mm an hour falling in some parts of Northland, Gullery said MetService expected to receive some.

A heavy rain watch was issued for Tai Rāwhiti earlier Tuesday afternoon, from 9pm through to 9am Wednesday. Heavy rain may approach warning criteria, especially north of Gisborne, MetService said.

"There is a low risk of a few thunderstorms from East Cape to Mahia."

Meteorologist Thapi Makgabutlane said intense rain up to 40mm an hour could hit some areas, and the intense downpours could cause surface and flash flooding in some low-lying areas.