Severe thunderstorm watch in force

Lightning. Photo by Savannah Sandlant

The MetService has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch for parts of the central North Island this morning.

The watch affects people in the Bay of Plenty, Rotorua, Taupo, Coromandel Peninsula, Waikato, Waitomo, Taumarunui, Taranaki, Taihape, and Wanganui districts.

“An active front is moving eastwards across the North Island, bringing outbreaks of heavy rain to western and central areas Saturday morning and afternoon,” says a MetService spokesperson.

“There is a possibility of thundery downpours with this front, and rainfall rates may exceed 25mm per hour.

“Rainfall of this intensity can cause surface and flash flooding, especially about low-lying areas such as streams, rivers or narrow valleys, and may also lead to slips.

“Driving conditions will also be hazardous with surface flooding and poor visibility in heavy rain.”

A Severe Thunderstorm Watch means conditions are favourable for severe thunderstorms in and close to the watch area. People in these areas should be on the lookout for threatening weather conditions and monitor for possible Severe Thunderstorm Warnings.

WeatherWatch advise that a ridge will be spreading over New Zealand on Sunday stretching out from an anticyclone in the Tasman Sea.

“A series of fronts push northwards over New Zealand on Saturday in a southwesterly airflow,” says a WeatherWatch spokesperson.

“Some morning rain for the upper North Island on Saturday then easing to showers in the afternoon, showers may become heavy with thunderstorms in the afternoon for Northland and Bay Of Plenty then easing in the evening.

“Northwesterlies change southwest. Morning showers in the southwest then dry spells increasing from afternoon. Mainly dry in the east with some high cloud, late afternoon / evening a southwest change brings a few showers.

“Mostly sunny for the western North Island on Sunday, showers in the east due to a southeasterly airflow.”

For information on preparing for and keeping safe during a storm, see the Civil Defence Get Ready website.

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