VIDEO: King tide prep around Coromandel

MetService's severe thunderstorm watch issued this morning and valid until 11pm this evening. Watch the from Garry Towler below.

MetService has issued a heavy rain watch and severe thunderstorm watch for the Coromandel from midday today with activity expected to ease late this evening.

A deep low in the Tasman Sea, formally Cyclone Fehi, will become slow-moving west of southern Westland this afternoon.

An associated rainband is expected to move onto the north and west of the North Island during today, with thunderstorms.

"Heavy rain and severe gale winds associated with this low are expected to affect many parts of the country including the Coromandel," says a statement from the Thames Coroamandel District Counci.

Localised intense downpours of 20-50mm/hr are likely. These may occur with or without thunderstorms.

"All the roads on the Coromandel are currently open, however, rainfall of this intensity can cause flash flooding, especially about low-lying areas such as streams, rivers or narrow valleys, and may also lead to slips. Please take care on our roads and see below for how you can keep up to date on road closures and conditions."

The heavy rain and thunderstorm activity should ease late this evening.

"We've got that storm mix of high winds and king tides. We anticipate that it won't be as big as January's storm but it'll be a bit uncomfortable, so the thing is let's just get prepared," says our Civil Defence Controller, Garry Towler.

"And if you're planning your Waitangi weekend on the Coromandel, we're open for business. There's plenty going on including the Leadfoot Festival at Hahei".

Read the MetService weather warning and keep up to date with their forecasts here.

The high tides are due at:

Thames:

Thursday 1 February 20:54

Friday 2 February 09:20

We have distributed approximately 10,000 sandbags to our coastal communities around the district ahead of potential coastal flooding from king tides which are forecast between 1-5 February.

See www.tcdc.govt.nz/sandbags for more information on these locations and how to fill and place sandbags.

"The general advice from Civil Defence is for individuals and families to at all times be prepared for any kind of emergency - and be prepared to look after themselves for up to 3-5 days," says Mr Towler.

NZ Civil Defence has prepared the Get Ready, Get Thru website with lots of information about planning for emergencies. If you get ready, then you can get through.

It's also important to stay informed before, during and after emergencies. The more avenues of communication available to you, the better.

Here are some we recommend:

Check MetService for the latest weather forecasts as this weather system develops.

Red Cross Hazards App - alerts about hazards. Download from the App Store or Google Play.

Local radio - Check stations and frequencies here.

Emergency Mobile Alert - these can be sent to your mobile phone, without needing to download an app or sign up. Check if your phone is capable of receiving them, here

Know your neighbours - phone each other, especially vulnerable people, to check if they're OK.

Waikato Regional Council has set up an online hub for rainfall and flood related information to help people more easily keep up to date with severe weather events in the region. It can be found at waikatoregion.govt.nz/flood-room

We will post regular updates on our Council's Facebook page as well as on our website and email newsletters.

The council will also include updates on known local Council road closures. If you see a Council road that is impassable due to flooding or a debris, call us on 07 868 0200.

If the issue is with a State Highway (eg, the Thames Coast Road, Kopu-Hikuai Road) please tell NZ Transport Agency on 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49) to speak to the call centre team who can also provide traffic and travel information.

Check NZTA's website before you travel for the latest information about road closures or work underway. You can also use their journey-planning website www.onthemove.govt.nz to plan the best route for your journey, taking into account known issues and traffic on state highways.

To report a power outage, contact Powerco or your provider.

For more on these channels, and other information about staying informed in emergencies, go to the Civil Defence "Never Happens" website.

And, although we're in for heavy rain, we still have a Total Fire Ban in place until at least 8 February, which includes bonfires and fireworks. See www.tcdc.govt.nz/fire for more information. 

We're also still facing water restrictions. See what restrictions apply here: www.tcdc.govt.nz/water



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Hairy Maclary and his friends at dusk. Photo: Lynley Whitaker.

Send us your photos from around the Bay of Plenty. kendra@thesun.co.nz