Severe gales, torrential rain and massive seas are tonight moving towards Northland as cyclone Wilma moves closers.
WeatherWatch.co.nz describes Wilma as the most significant cyclone to hit New Zealand in 14 years.
WeatherWatch.co.nz head weather analyst Philip Duncan says while the storm is expected to track slightly east of land the most severe winds, which circle 100 to 200kms from the centre of the system, are still likely to make landfall.
Wilma is currently less than 175kms north of Cape Reinga. Winds should start to pick up in the next few hours in the Far North and they will strengthen quickly.
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Wilma is likely to bring damaging winds to eastern Northland, Great Barrier Island, and possibly into parts of northern Auckland, Coromandel Peninsula and East Cape over the next 12 to 18 hours.
Winds are sustained near the centre at around 100km/h with gusts estimated at 150km/h.
WeatherWatch.co.nz will update Wilma’s progress later tonight (before 11pm) with updates into the early hours of Saturday. Due to the high volume of traffic tonight please ensure you read all the latest stories on our homepage before submitting questions, as we may not have time to answer them all.
– WeatherWatch Team
Maps below are courtesy of our weather partner, www.WeatherMap.co.nz
Rain and wind at 7pm Friday. Orange and reds in the middle of the sysrtem indicated heaviest rain.
Swells – 7am
Winds – 1am
on 28/01/2011 10:01am
been having to empty rain gage every hr 203ml since 10am rain start