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Heavy rain has moved into the North Island overnight with some particularly heavy falls between North Taranaki and South Waikato.

Rain has been falling much of the night over the South Island hydro lakes with spillover as far east as Dunedin.

Head weather analyst Philip Duncan says severe gales were also expected to batter a number of regions but failed to happen.  “The weather charts seemed to be showing severe gales through central New Zealand today and while gusts of near120km/h were recorded around Wellington overnight higher gusts of 140 – 150km/h just didn’t happen”.

Mr Duncan says this was mostly likely due to the fact that the low creating the winds is dropping away very quickly into the Southern Ocean.  “To get strong winds you need a steep gradient of air pressure between a low and a high and in this case the gradient just wasn’t steep enough as the low moved quickly away to the south.  There’s still the risk of gales this morning but the that risk has definitely dropped”.

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Duncan says rainfall is expected to “significantly” help the hydro lakes in the South Island.  “I’ve been saying for a couple of months now that winter would see a return to decent rainfalls across a number of dry regions across the country.  Waikato is starting to look water logged and the hydro lakes are getting yet another burst of rain.  I see no reason why similar rain bearing fronts won’t continue to arrive over the South Island for the remainder of winter”.

Mr Duncan says so far winter is shaping up to be pretty normal, despite a few low snow falls.

The northerly air flow has definitely had an impact on temperatures. “In Hamilton, for example, it was 18 degrees warmer at 6am today than it was at 6am on Wednesday”.

Mr Duncan says temperatures in the North Island will be well up over the weekend.  “Some places like Hawkes Bay will be in the high teens”.

Settled weather is likely to return during Sunday and Monday as a large high develops over the country.  “Frosts will return but they shouldn’t be quite as severe or widespread”.


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