Severe weather affecting quake-hit region, New Zealand

Severe weather affecting quake-hit region, New Zealand

Heavy rain and strong winds are affecting the earthquake-hit region of New Zealand as an active weather system crosses the South Island late tonight and the North Island on Tuesday (local time). With a full moon tonight, tides will be high and flooding is possible, especially in the Nelson area around tonight's high tide at 22:30 NZST which coincides with strong onshore winds and heavy rain. 

MetService issued severe weather warnings for strong winds and heavy rain in central New Zealand, with gusts up to 140 km/h (87 mph) expected in exposed places.

The agency warned yesterday an active weather system is approaching the lower South Island, with a wedge of warm air from the tropics bringing heavy rain with it.

"Rain is expected to be heaviest in northwest Nelson, Buller and Westland, and also in the ranges of Marlborough Sounds, Taranaki, Tararua Ranges and the headwaters from Whanganui to Ruapehu," it warned.

There is a high risk of thunderstorms on the West Coast of the South Island until early Tuesday morning. Areas in the east, including Kaikoura, will miss the worst of this rain although scattered falls are likely there overnight before clearing in the morning.

The strong northerlies will affect areas from Whanganui and Manawatu to Kaikoura, although the strongest gusts will be closer to the Cook Strait, including Wellington where the quake clean-up is underway.

Winds should peak in the Kaikoura area tonight before easing into Tuesday morning, although the week ahead will often be windy.

"With a full moon tonight, tides will be high and flooding is possible, especially in the Nelson area around tonight's high tide at 22:30 NZST which coincides with strong onshore winds and heavy rain. Areas on the Kapiti Coast and northern parts of the South Island's West Coast should also beware of high wind waves during tonight's high tide. Heavy rain could also lead to localized flooding tonight in those areas of the upper South Island that are under severe warnings and watches for rain."

The rest of the week is marked by troughs from the Tasman bringing strong winds and rain, especially in the west, although the wet week should ease up by Friday, November 18.

Featured image: Wind+Precipitation model for New Zealand - November 14, 2016. Credit: MeteoEarth

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