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Heavy tropical rain returning to Nelson & North Island

By Philip Duncan — The remnants of ex-cyclone Fina are continuing to grow in size but not in strength as it drifts very slowly towards New Zealand – and residents in Nelson, the West Coast and northern and western regions of the North Island should all be following its movements. says Nelson looks again to be in the firing line, although latest data does suggest rainfall totals should be lower than the last event.

However the low has many similarities to the last flood event – with another blocking high out east slowing the rain down and causing it to stall in some areas.  It was this stalling action that lead to flooding two weeks ago.

My advice to trampers and campers is that they should keep up to date with the latest weather news, watches and likely warnings as the ex-cyclone moves closer –  – as flooding is certainly a possibility in some areas.

Fina’s remnants will also pull in plenty of cloud and humidity for other areas.

Unfortunately it’s our most popular camping/holiday destinations that will be affected by the heavy rain and winds.  Winds are likely to be blustery in exposed areas, especially around the upper North Island and eastern Waikato.  Winds may be strong enough to rip some tents, and boaties are also advised to check moorings with marine gale warnings a near certainty from Auckland northwards. 

As someone who has camped for over 30 years I know what to look for – and this one looks like the rain will be the main issue, the wind will be more of an annoyance – so if you prepare today with a few extra pegs, tarps and ropes, you should be able to stand up to any wind gusts.  Oh and dust off the Monopoly set for the kids, and get an extra bottle of wine and reading material for yourself.

I’m an optimist when it comes to the weather.  A wet day when camping isn’t much fun – but if you look at it as a day where you’re forced to relax indoors reading, playing games and not getting sunburnt, you can turn it around into a positive.

Northern facing regions of both islands will cop the heaviest rain – again that’s Northland, Coromandel and Bay of Plenty in the North Island, and Nelson and Marlborough in the South Island.

But for most it’s not worth cancelling your holiday over.  While we’re certainly advising people to make informed decisions before heading out tramping, boating or camping between Thursday and Sunday, we do know this system will clear the country early next week. 

There will likely be some flooding – but it’s still too early to know specifically where, so we’ll keep you updated over the next few days. 

So yes – a wet, windy and cloudy end to 2011 and start to 2012 – but the days after that show another high rolling in. 

Although a southerly change after ex-cyclone Fina could mean cooler weather in the south and east of the country.

Like I said back in November, the unsettled spring-like weather pattern would continue until the end of the year.    As for January – well it’s looking a little more settled you’ll be pleased to know.

And if you want to miss all the weather dramas – head to Southland or Otago – where it’s sunnier, hotter and much drier.

You can track the system using our new interactive Maps page – where you can see rainfall predictions, wind speed predictions, swell predictions and more, for up to 14 days in advance!

By head weather analyst Philip Duncan written for


Guest on 27/12/2011 11:49pm

Hi guys what u expecting over new year fpr wairarapa? just that normaly this time of a year we miss all the northerly rain?

Guest on 27/12/2011 9:37pm

Even with the rain we have had, things have dried out quite quickly. This will be welcome in an odd sort of way. I feel for those already camping as this kind of weather can make things a little miserable for the kids. Have a feeling it’s just going to be one of those summers.

Glenda on 27/12/2011 7:41pm

Love the new maps but the rain map is pretty much useless for the far north as the key covers from Whangarei to the Cape. How about a vertical key rather than the horizontial.

WW Forecast Team on 27/12/2011 7:52pm

Hi Glenda – the maps are interactive which means you can drag the map around using your mouse.  We’ll look into shifting the key next year to save you having to do this, but in the meantime that will help.


– WW

Guest on 27/12/2011 6:11pm

Sitting on 1459 mm of rain here in torbay, akld so far this year, looks like will break 1500 before the end of the year looking at the forecast.. that is quite a wet year yes?

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