Unpredictable and violent are two words forecasters are using to describe the weather around Taranaki and the western half of the North Island today as explosive rain clouds push into the region ahead of a deep and large low in the southern Tasman Sea.
Within the hour WeatherWatch.co.nz has received numerous reports of torrential rain, thunderstorms, large hail and now reports of a waterspout.
“About 11.15am decent sized waterspout off Taranaki coast came to within about 500m of shoreline in Oakura…would be the biggest i have seen. Noticed many people standing at window in Oakura 4square watching it and taking shelter” WeatherWatch.co.nz reader “Brent” told us.
WeatherWatch.co.nz hasn’t been able to confirm the waterspout via photographic evidence but NewstalkZB in New Plymouth has confirmed the waterspout was spotted by one of their on-air hosts.
Head weather analyst Philip Duncan says that today and tomorrow the rough and unstable weather will continue. “We have unpredictable weather that can produce rapidly forming large showers and thunderstorms, these can also produce tornados or waterspouts”.
Yesterday WeatherWatch.co.nz took the unusual step of predicting a “high risk” for tornado development today but continues to stress the chance of one hitting property is still low. “Unlike a band of rain moving in tornados form in very isolated pockets. A band of rain half the size of the North Island may only produce one tornado the width of a car, but they can be very dangerous”.
Meanwhile torrential rain is already causing minor flooding around the Taranaki region. “Pouring down here too in Kapuni…or driveway is a river” Kathleen Farquhar wrote on WeatherWatch.co.nz’s Facebook page.
Mr Duncan says the risk for torrential downpours in the west, north and central parts of the North Island today is considered “high” and could lead to localised flash and surface flooding.
“People shouldn’t expect solid rain for the next few days, most places in the north will see slow moving showers today and tomorrow then faster, colder showers for Wednesday”.
New Zealand’s only free public lightning tracker has also had a busy morning – showing thousands of strikes along the west coast of the North Island.
on 14/05/2012 3:45am
hi guys weather very dark here in massey now, i see metservice has issued a severe thunder storm watch for upper north island. Some thunder clouds rolling in… but still maybe the calm before the storm.