Worst appears to be over for North, but caution still advised

10 Jun 2014, 10:26 PM

A severe weather warning for Northland remains in place but the worst of the weather that has battered the region – dumping two months of rain since Sunday – is heading south as predicted, leaving widespread surface flooding in its wake.

At 9.47pm today, the MetService issued an updated warning confirming heavy rain had eased north of Whangarei and was expected to ease further south of Whangarei overnight. It was predicting the possibility another 40mm to 60mm of rain south of Whangarei between 8pm and midnight.

However, the MetService says while easterly winds might still reach severe gale level with gusts of up to 120kmh in exposed parts of Northland until just after midnight, the strong westerlies it had then expected to follow and also potentially reach severe gale strength now looked unlikely to do so.

The revised North forecast has been welcomed by officials locally who say – while some concerns still remain about bigger catchments like the Mangakahia and Hikurangi Swamp – by and large the region has escaped fairly lightly from the slow moving low.

This was despite the system dumping more than 300mm of rain on parts of the region from midday Sunday until 7pm today – equivalent to roughly twice what normally falls for the entire month of June.

Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management Group spokesman Graeme MacDonald says while it still has some concerns about some of the bigger catchments and would monitor the situation overnight, it appears the event was effectively over for the region.

Northland Regional Council figures show up to 300mm had fallen at Puhipuhi, north of Whangarei, in the 55.5 hours from noon on Sunday until 7.30pm today – roughly equivalent to twice the usual monthly rainfall for the entire month of June.

Council hydrologist Dale Hansen says over the same 55.5-hour period, 230mm had fallen at Kaikohe, 214mm at Wiroa Rd on the high hills east of Lake Omapere and 186mm at Oromahoe.

The Glenbervie forest near Whangarei had recorded 211mm since noon Sunday, while 204mm had been recorded over the longer period at the Hikurangi Swamp, 226mm at Opouteke and 190mm at Twin Bridges.

Since midday Sunday 173mm had been recorded at the regional council's Water St Whangarei offices, 163mm at the Opua Wharf, 134mm at Kaeo, 118mm at Kaipara's Tutamoe Ranges, 139 mm at Maungaturoto, 118mm at Kerikeri and 87mm at Dargaville.

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

He says information about any local district council road and State Highway closures/issues in Northland 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