STORM CAUSES CHAOS IN AUCKLAND


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Torrential rain and winds blasting up to gale force disrupted Auckland Thursday night as another Tasman Sea storm moved over the region.  The heavy rain brought chaos to Auckland's roads with gridlock on all motorways at 5pm, leading to serious crashes and commute times taking hours rather than minutes.  Passengers on ferries would've been rocked about as winds gusted to 100km/h across Auckland Harbour.
 
At 6pm the Radio Network's Weather Watch Centre issued a Storm Alert warning gale force winds would buffet the city for the evening.   Head Weather Analyst Philip Duncan says winds were recorded at 90km/h across Auckland, with gusts up to 110km/h in coastal regions.  He said the direction of the wind combined with heavy rain was the reason a storm alert was issued. 
 
"This is about the 8th Tasman Sea storm to affect Northland and Auckland in a matter of weeks.  Easterlies are not that common during winter and we've had several weeks of them, including a few days where they reached gale or severe gale".
 
Heavy rain also caused surface flooding about Northland during the day. 
 
Auckland shivered as the normally warm nor'easters brought a temperature of around 12 degrees for much of the day.  "While South Islanders might laugh at that, it was certainly noticeably cold in Auckland, that was because the air being dragged in wasn't coming from the tropics as it often does with north easterlies".
 
 
WEEKEND FORECAST:
A shift to north west winds Friday is expected to warm things up across the country, ahead of yet another low in the Tasman Sea.  The low, which isn't expected to bring any severe weather, is however set to flick another couple of fronts across much of New Zealand late on Saturday.  "It should be a mild start to the weekend with cloud building during Saturday and a few showers turning to rain by afternoon, evening and overnight for some.  Rain or showers should affect most eastern areas on Sunday morning with conditions turning cooler west or south west and a few showers in western parts" says Philip Duncan.
 
Duncan also says the north west winds could be blustery in northern New Zealand for a time late Saturday and gales are likely for ski fields across Central Pleateau and also about Wellington.
 
 
WEATHER NEWS HEADLINES:
-        Tropical Storm Dean is now expected to become the first Atlantic Hurricane of the season…and may affect America’s south east coast.
-        There are fears in Texas that Tropical Storm Erin could cause serious flooding over the next day or two.
-        A large high pressure zone is expected to form over Tasmania next week... may influence NZ’s weather...with drier conditions.