Broad low pressure brings heavy rain and wind

May 11, 2017

Another period of heavy rain and strong winds is forecast for parts of New Zealand today and into tomorrow. MetService has issued a series of Severe Weather Warnings and Watches covering much of the Central and Northern New Zealand. This wet weather is the result of the combination of a front heading slowly eastwards across the country and the remnants of what was Tropical Cyclone Donna sinking southwards.

As the front moved over the Nelson region during the early hours of Thursday morning, rainfall totals exceeded 50mm at Nelson airport with nearby observation stations reporting similar amounts in just under an hour. As the front continues to track eastwards, heavy rain with some local downpours is forecast to move further across the North Island. Severe Weather Warnings are already in place for Taranaki, the Central High Country as well as Bay of Plenty and the ranges of Gisborne while a Severe Weather Watch covers the rest of the North Island.

“The tracks of Ex-Tropical Cyclones are sometimes hard to forecast, as we have seen in other recent events,” said Metservice Communications Meteorologist, Lisa Murray. “Approaching from the northwest, the remnants of Donna form a broad area of low pressure that slides across the north of the county overnight and into Friday”.

“Although there is still much uncertainty as to the speed and positioning of the Ex-Tropical Cyclone it is looking like a wet night for many on the North Island,” said Murray. “The wettest areas are expected to be Bay of Plenty, Central Plateau and the Gisborne Ranges although other areas can expect to also see downpours which could cause some surface flooding and landslips”.

Accompanying the wet weather will be some stronger winds. A Severe Weather Watch is in place for strong to gale force northeasterlies over central and upper parts of the North Island.  As the low pulls away to the east the winds will swing round to the south, still strong to gale in some places.

“Aucklanders should prepare for some localised heavy falls and strong wind”, advised Murray, “Auckland are currently under a Severe Weather Watch for heavy rain and strong winds, but this could be upgraded to a Warning if the system tracks closer to the region.”

Most western areas of the South Island have sunshine on Friday while a weak front moves up the eastern side brings a period of showers as it passes. By Friday evening the worst of the weather is forecast to pull away into the Pacific leaving a drier and brighter weekend, just in time for Mother’s Day. However, with the winds swinging around to the south it’s going to feel much cooler.

Official Severe Weather Watches and Warnings are reviewed and re-issued by MetService at least every twelve hours, and more often if necessary. To get the most up to date information on severe weather around the country, or any other forecasts, see or on mobile devices at You can also follow our updates on MetService TV, at MetService New Zealand on Facebook@metservice  and @MetServiceWARN on Twitter and at


MetService issues Warnings, Watches and Outlooks for severe weather over New Zealand.

Warnings are about taking action when severe weather is imminent or is occurring. They are issued only when required.
Recommendation: ACT 

Watches are about being alert when severe weather is possible, but not sufficiently imminent or certain for a Warning to be issued. They are issued only when required.
Recommendation: BE READY 

Outlooks are about looking ahead, providing advance information on possible future Watches and/or Warnings. They are issued routinely once or twice a day.
Recommendation: PLAN 

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