With the country under a humid blanket of cloud and rain it’s hard to believe the week started off relatively cool when a series of weak cold fronts moved north over the South Island and lower North Island during Monday and Tuesday.
“A reprieve from the above average temperatures of January continued for those south of the central plateau during the first half of the week due to cooler and drier air lingering after a strong southerly change from the previous week,” says MetService meteorologist April Clark.
Air continued to dry out during Monday and Tuesday, as a couple of weaker cold fronts affected the southern parts of the country.
“Even the upper North Island saw a brief reprieve from muggy and showery conditions as another front moved off the area late Tuesday. This was followed by a broad ridge of high pressure, bringing settled conditions for the entire country.”
However, from Thursday onwards the country slowly became engulfed in a rain-bearing subtropical air mass.
“Rain with this current system started over Northland on Friday and has been on and off since,” says April. “This system will not spare any part of the country, though some regions in the west will see much higher rainfall accumulations that those elsewhere.”
Heavy rain watches and warnings have been in place for much of the North Island and upper South Island during the weekend with over 150mm of rain falling over the western ranges of Nelson in the 24 hours leading up to midday Sunday.
A Severe Thunderstorm Watch was issued on Sunday with localised downpours of up to 40mm an hour possible for western areas of the North Island, northwest Nelson and Buller.
People heading out are recommended to keep up to date with the forecast and road conditions as heavy or persistent rain could bring flooding, poor visibility and slips to susceptible areas.
The rain, though set to continue, is expected to become confined to the east on Monday with Great Barrier Island, the Coromandel Peninsula, eastern parts of Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taupo and Tongariro National Park the only regions holding onto a Heavy Rain Watch by the start of next week.
Meanwhile, well to the north, Tropical Cyclone Gita was named late Friday night and has since affected Samoa before strengthening to its current CAT 3 status near Niue as it travelled south. Gita is expected to curve west towards Tonga during Monday but is set to remain in the tropics for the next few days.
Until Gita moves south of 25S Fiji is the official Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre forecasting for Gita and will issue nay warnings regarding the Tropical Cyclone on their website http://info.metraweather.com/e/60812/2018-02-10/fngt19/666730200