Heavy rain, gales on way for New Year in Northland

31 Dec 2015, 1:46 PM

Those preparing to welcome in the New Year in Northland are being urged to keep an eye on the weather with the MetService predicting heavy rain and easterly gales over the next couple of days.

The Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Group says 150mm to 180mm of rain is predicted about Northland's eastern hills in the 42 hours from 3am Friday until 9pm Saturday, with more than 100mm possible in other northern and eastern areas.

Group spokesperson Shona Morgan says as well as an official heavy rain warning, a severe weather watch has also been issued for possible easterly gales, which may become severe in exposed parts of Northland from early tomorrow morning until Saturday evening.

Ms Morgan says rainfall is expected to peak at 25mm to 35mm an hour in places with thunderstorms also possible.

"If the rain falls as predicted over the next couple of days, it could cause rivers and streams to rise rapidly, with slips and surface flooding also possible."

Ms Morgan says given the numerous bands of rain being predicted, people in Northland would be wise to take the usual precautions for strong winds and rain, including securing large heavy objects or anything that could be potentially dangerous.

"At this time of year, with so many Northlanders and visitors to our region staying in and around our coastal areas and rivers (including many who will be camping) we recommend people adopt a common sense approach and take a couple of minutes to make sure they are properly prepared."

She says yachties and visitors with boats should check moorings/anchoring spots and ensure their vessels are properly secured today before the bad weather arrives and would be wise to stay off the water until it has passed.

"While this weather is likely to make things fairly unpleasant for many holidaymakers, the Northland area is no stranger to rain and winds like those currently predicted."

"Provided people take the usual precautions and adopt the common sense approach we're recommending, we are not anticipating too many issues beyond those these conditions would normally bring."

However, Ms Morgan says it has been very dry in the region lately and given the changeable nature of weather, people in Northland should keep an eye out for any new forecasts as they're issued to make sure they're not caught unaware.

"This applies moreso to holidaymakers and those unfamiliar with the region and those places which are usually affected by flooding and strong winds."

"Civil Defence will continue to monitor the situation 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