More rain expected across the region
Friday, 28 January 2011 11:10 a.m.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council staff are advising people to prepare for more bad weather as the latest MetService forecast predicts heavy rain, strong winds and large swells for the region from late Friday through to noon on Saturday.
Tropical Cyclone Wilma, which is currently sitting north of New Zealand, is responsible for the forecasted weather with MetService saying it will downgrade to a low pressure system as it hits the country.
The MetService warning states rain is expected to develop late this afternoon and become heavy this evening. In the 17 hrs from 5pm Friday to 10am Saturday expect 50 to 100mm. The heaviest falls are expected early Saturday morning when rainfall rates may reach 20mm per hour.
Community Relations Manager Bronwyn Campbell said a lot of rain was expected to fall in a short period, which could mean further flooding for low lying areas following last weekend's storm and significant rainfall.
"MetService has issued a severe weather warning for areas of the North Island, including the Bay of Plenty and heavy rain is expected to reach Bay of Plenty from 9pm Friday evening and last until noon on Saturday. Heaviest falls are predicted for about midnight on Friday," Ms Campbell said.
Ms Campbell said campers and holidaymakers in the region for the long weekend should keep up-to-date with weather forecasts and take appropriate precautions. Also, people who are travelling should take care on the roads with the possibility of some flooding and the likelihood of slips. If you don't have to travel then we would advise you to stay home.
"All farmers should move stock to high ground before the forecast rain arrives," Ms Campbell said.
Following last weekend's storm, Council staff have been busy repairing minor damage and checking equipment to ensure that they are prepared for the rain expected this weekend.
"The ground is already at a high saturation point so heavy rain may cause further flooding in low-lying areas," Ms Campbell said.
The MetService warning states that heavy rain is likely to lead to rapidly rising streams and rivers. Surface flooding and slips may make also make driving difficult. People in the region, especially those planning outdoor activities, should be prepared for a period of strong or gale winds and very heavy rain.
Ms Campbell said that while there was no marine warning for the Bay of Plenty at this stage, swells were expected to get up to five metres on Saturday morning so boaties should be cautious and to check the marine forecast before they set off.
"Heavy northeast swells and very rough seas are forecast for eastern coastal areas from Northland to East Cape so people should be careful if they are doing boating or coastal activities and should even consider not going out.
The storm is also set to coincide with the Extreme Boats 20k 4way Tournament (formerly Whakatane Tuna Tournament) which is held annually in Whakatane, but organisers were expected to keep an eye on the weather and advise competitors on this situation.
For further information on weather predictions please go to www.metservice.com
For live monitoring and regional rainfall data go to our Live Monitoring site