1 Jan, 2021 07:17 PM
Widespread rain and thunderstorms are expected for much of the country today, and some of the heaviest falls will be in northern regions – coinciding with holidaymakers travelling home.
By lunchtime, the entire North Island will be lying under a threat of lightning, rumbling skies and intense localised downpours.
The storms are not expected to ease until night.
MetService has issued a number of heavy rain watches and warnings for parts of Canterbury and Otago, and ranging from the centre of the North Island to Northland.
Overnight rain had already forced the Central Otago Trotting Club to cancel today’s race meeting after floodwaters inundated the carpark and race course.
The worst of the wet weather is forecast for central and eastern areas of Northland south of Doubtless Bay and Taupō, eastern Waikato and the Coromandel Peninsula south of Whitianga.
At 7am, showers were already starting to fall across western regions from Auckland to Marlborough and the first thunderstorm of the day was tracking closely behind off the Tasman Sea.
MetService is warning the turbulent overhead conditions will blanket much of the north across the afternoon and evening.
At times, there will be intense downpours of up to 25mm of rain in an hour.
The forecaster warns there is even a chance tornadoes and hail will strike in the South Island over south Canterbury and central Otago. However, the risk of such severe conditions remains low at this stage.
It expects the wet weather to continue in the North Island on Sunday, with the possibility of heavy and thundery showers in the afternoon in the north and east, eventually clearing to fine in the southwest in the evening.
In the South Island, rain is forecast on Sunday in the south and west and about the Canterbury high country, and easing in the evening.
Showers are still expected across the country into Monday, but there will be some fine spells for the North Island on Tuesday.