Weather: MetService forecasts thunderstorms, heavy rain for many parts of New Zealand

Numerous weather warnings are in place across New Zealand as heavy rain and severe gales are expected to continue until late Sunday.

Thunderstorms are also possible in many places, according to MetService.

Temperatures are unlikely to reach the highs of Friday.

Yesterday, Timaru hit a sweltering 31.1C, according to Niwa – its seventh-equal November temperature on record. But today the South Island town is only forecast to reach the mid-teens.

Hawke’s Bay is expected to be the warmest area today with 27C forecast for Napier.

The forecaster said a moist northwesterly flow was affecting the country, and a front moving east across the upper South Island and North Island today would bring rain and showers.

Thunderstorms with bursts of heavy rain were possible today in central and northern Westland, the Canterbury high country, Buller, the south of Nelson and southwest Marlborough, Metservice said.

The west of the North Island from Kapiti to Northland also had a small risk of thunderstorms accompanied by heavy rain bursts, as did the rest of Nelson and Marlborough and north Canterbury.

MetService said parts of the western South Island and the Tararua Ranges had already had more than 80mm of rain since midday yesterday.

The West Coast had already seen its fair share of lightning this morning, with more to come this afternoon.

On Sunday morning a front would move east onto the country, with a moderate risk of thunderstorms from Whanganui to Kāpiti as well as Buller, much of Westland, north Canterbury and the Canterbury high country.

There was also a smaller risk of thunderstorms across the western Waikato south to Wellington and for Nelson and Buller.

No thunderstorms were expected in other parts of New Zealand.

Heavy rain, gale warnings and watches in place

Heavy rain warnings are in place for the Bay of Plenty ranges east of Ōpōtiki and inland Gisborne ranges until 10pm tonight, with 70-90mm total rain expected.

Warnings are also in place for Mt Taranaki until 4pm, the Tararua Range until 8pm and the Westland ranges south of Ōtira, North Otago, Dunedin and Clutha until 9pm.

More heavy rain is expected for Westland and Tararua on Sunday.

MetService said heavy rain could see streams and rivers rising rapidly, with surface flooding and slips possible. Driving conditions could be hazardous.

Heavy rain watches are also in place for the Tasman ranges west of Motueka until3pm and the Buller and Westland ranges north of Ōtira until 6pm Sunday.

Northland is also under a heavy rain watch until 1pm today, while Waikato south of Raglan, Waitomo, North Taranaki, Taumaranui and Taupō south of Tūrangi and Taihape will see periods of heavy rain until 4pm.

Strong wind watches are in place for Wellington and Wairarapa from 1pm today until 10pm tomorrow, and for inland Marlborough and the Canterbury high country from 6pm tonight until 3am Sunday.

The forecaster said strong wind gusts could damage trees, powerlines and unsecured structures. Driving may be hazardous, especially for high-sided vehicles and motorcycles.

Wind watches have been lifted for Taihape, the Hawke’s Bay ranges and the Canterbury high country south of the Rakaia River.

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