Heavy rain, gale warnings for Northland in cyclone’s wake
Northland appears set to be spared the worst of the remains of Cyclone Pam – but officials are still warning of severe gales and heavy rain this afternoon and overnight.
Shona Morgan, spokesperson for the Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Group, says as expected, latest forecasts show the Gisborne, Hawke's Bay and Bay of Plenty areas will be the parts of New Zealand hardest hit by the storm.
However, just after 8.30am today MetService forecasters had also issued new heavy rain and strong wind warnings for eastern Northland, predicting 80mm to 100 mm of rain could fall in the 18 hours between midday today and 6am Monday.
Forecasters also warned of gale force south-easterlies for eastern parts of Northland this afternoon; these could rise to severe gales gusting up to 120km/h this evening, before tending southerly and weakening Monday morning. There was a possibility of similar winds in remaining parts of Northland over the same period.
Ms Morgan says the latest forecasts reinforce earlier Civil Defence warnings for Northlanders to take the usual precautions for strong winds and rain, including securing large heavy objects or anything that could be potentially dangerous.
Similarly, motorists should postpone any unnecessary travel from midday today until tomorrow morning, when the worst of the weather is expected to have past.
Given the big seas expected as a result of the storm, by now yachties should also have already checked their moorings and ensured their vessels are properly secured.
Ms Morgan says while the weather is likely to make things unpleasant over the rest of the weekend and into tomorrow morning, Northlanders were not unfamiliar with rain and winds like those currently predicted.
"Provided people take the usual precautions and adopt a common sense approach, we are not anticipating too many issues beyond those these conditions would normally bring."
However, she says given the changeable nature of weather, Northlanders should keep an eye out for any new forecasts as they're issued today.
"Civil Defence will continue to monitor the situation closely over the remainder of the weekend and will update the public as required, including through the Northland CDEM Group's Facebook page – www.facebook.com/civildefencenorthland
Ms Morgan says General Civil Defence information is also available from the Northland Regional Council's website www.nrc.govt.nz/civildefence