Persistent, heavy rain could bring surface floods, slips

9 Jun 2014

Northlanders and visitors to the region are being warned persistent heavy rain forecast between now and late tomorrow could cause surface flooding and slips in parts of the region.

MetService forecasters this morning issued a severe weather warning for northern and eastern Northland, predicting the region may receive 100-150mm of persistent rain in the 36 hours to 8pm Tuesday.

However, Graeme MacDonald, spokesman for the Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Group, says some areas had already experienced 50mm of rain in just a few hours before the latest warning was issued.

He says given the length of time the rain is now expected to fall over – and the fact it could be heavier in some places than others – Civil Defence was urging a precautionary approach, especially from tomorrow afternoon when the effects of prolonged periods of persistent rain would be more keenly felt.

"If the rain falls as predicted over the next 36 hours, it could cause a few problems in some areas, especially those which have already experienced moderate amounts of rain today."

Mr MacDonald says possible problems could include rapid rises in rivers and streams resulting in surface flooding and the possibility of slips. However, he says less clear at this stage is what is likely to happen later Tuesday night and into Wednesday if rain continues.

"Given this we will be keeping a close eye on weather – including new forecasts and warnings – as they come to hand over the next day or so. In the meantime, the usual advice applies; keep up to date with the latest forecasts, be careful in areas prone to flooding and don't travel on the roads unless necessary."

Mr MacDonald says most Northlanders are very familiar with sorts of weather-related precautions they need to take and typically cope with heavy rain well.

"Both locals and frequent visitors to our region are familiar with the spots that regularly flood and/or slip during heavy rain events and usually deal with them calmly and sensibly."

He says Civil Defence will update the public as required, including through the Northland CDEM Group's Facebook page – www.facebook.com/civildefencenorthland

Information about any local district council road and State Highway closures/issues in Northland while the warning is in force is available from the Automobile Association website via www.AAroadwatch.co.nz

The site contains a map and brief description of closed/affected roads and an indication of when the issue/s involved is likely to be resolved.

General Civil Defence information is also available from the Northland Regional Council's website www.nrc.govt.nz/civildefence