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Low makes landfall in Far North with gales

Winds continue to build in the upper North Island as the centre of the low makes landfall in the Far North and heavy rain moves into central New Zealand this evening reports

The centre of the low has made landfall around the Far North / northern Northland with gales becoming even stronger in the last hour and turning southerly at Cape Reinga – whereas they remain strong northerly around Whangarei and the Bay of Islands.  

The low will bring an increased coastal flooding threat tonight at the next high tide across the east coast between northern parts of Northland down to Auckland and into the Firth of Thames.

We have extensive coverage below as we track this system from the top of the North to the top of the South.

Upper North Island (north of Taupo)

The centre of the low will push over Northland this evening with gale force winds.  Those winds will ease for a time as the centre of the low passes over and will then pick up again overnight from the south west.

The low’s centre is expected to lie directly over Auckland at around midnight tonight according to MetService weather charts. says that as of 5:30pm the centre of the low had passed over the Far North and was now pushing into northern parts of Northland.  Winds have turned southerly on the back end of the low at Cape Reinga, where gales are now gusting to almost 110km/h.

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Northerly gales are affecting Auckland’s harbours and says that if the southerly change is late arriving tonight it could mean more serious coastal flooding in parts of the city tonight.

“We have a storm surge, the area directly under the centre of the low where the sea level lifts up a little, coupled with gale northerlies on the harbour.  If this is the set up again shortly before midnight tonight – which is high tide – we can expect the same level of coastal flooding on the various motorways and roads in the Auckland region” says head weather analyst Philip Duncan.

Rain, again heavy at times, will be linked in with the centre of the low as it moves down Northland tonight and into Auckland, Waikato, Coromandel Peninsula and then on to Bay of Plenty in the early hours of tomorrow morning.

Rain has eased significantly, for now, across much of Auckland and Waikato and rain is also easing around the Coromandel Ranges however latest radar images by the state forecaster show heavy rain and showers around the centre of the low.

Central and Lower North Island (south of Taupo)

Heavy rain continues to push into the central and lower North Island this evening.  Some of the heaviest rain remains around Taupo and the Central Plateau and that is tracking southwards.

In New Plymouth a near gale southerly is gusting to 83km/h with strong south easterlies in Hawera, south Taranaki.

It’s significantly cooler in Taranaki with 14 to 16 degrees this hour, compared to 24 degrees in a number of upper North Island regions this hour.

Heavy rain continues to fall in Hawkes Bay and won’t ease until tomorrow morning. 

A cold southerly and rain continues to drive in to Wellington.

Due to the path of the rain and fronts it’s unlikely that the lower North Island will enjoy (or not enjoy depending on your point of view) the tropical heat that dramatically and suddenly moved into Auckland this morning, lifting the temperature by 6 degrees in just 30 minutes.  That sub-tropical air is unlikely to spread much further south, as the low starts to shift more easterly after midnight, taking it across East Cape tomorrow afternoon and not further south.

Upper South Island

The upper South Island is on the fringe of this sub-tropical low and will continue to receive rain and cool south easterlies.  The rain will continue to set in tonight.

Along the east coast, north of Christchurch, cool winds will continue with some light rain developing.

As of 5:30pm it was just 12 degrees in Kaikoura, but a slightly warmer 16 degrees in Christchurch.

Lower South Island

The lower South Island is not affected by this system apart from some cloud and possible drizzle (or patchy light rain overnight) along the east coast north of Dunedin.


Jude on 23/01/2011 5:43am

Just thought you might like to know that it is still pouring with rain here in Mill Creek Whitianga. Eased a little for about a hour, but back again heavy. We have had well over 250ml now. Sorry rain gauge broken. Wind is starting to blow a bit more.

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