Weather: Rain on way, including for flood-hit Buller, Nelson and Marlborough

Planeloads of Kiwis escaping the burst transtasman bubble aren’t the only ones crossing the Tasman Sea this weekend.

An active front has also been New Zealand-bound, moving from the Tasman Sea and onto some western and northern parts of the country tomorrow, MetService meteorologist Ashlee Parkes said.

“Northeasterly winds will strengthen across the country during tomorrow, and in the second half of the day we’ll begin to see that frontal feature move onto Westland, Nelson, Northland.”

That means wet weather, with heavy rain forecast in Nelson, west of Motueka, and the ranges of Westland, south of Otira.

Warnings are in place for both areas – from 9pm tomorrow until 1pm on Monday in Nelson and for 24 hours from 8pm tomorrow in Westland.

Heavy rain watches are also in place for Fiordland over 12 hours from 4pm tomorrow, the Buller ranges, south of Seddonville and north of Reefton, most of Monday, and at Richmond Range, including Rai Valley and Marlborough Sounds, between 5am and 3pm on Monday.

A strong wind watch has been issued for Fiordland tomorrow, from 3pm.

The heavy rain wouldn’t be as intense as the downpours that flooded houses in Westport to their windows, and damaged roads and sparked evacuations across Westland, parts of Tasman and Marlborough last weekend, Parkes said.

“The accumulations we’re seeing are nowhere near as high as when we did the red warning last weekend. For Buller it’s 50 to 70mm [over the heavy rain watch period], whereas during the red warning we saw a couple of hundred millimetres.”

However, given how saturated flood-affected areas were, the rain could cause additional headaches for residents, she said.

The front would, fortunately, be fast-moving, crossing the country overnight tomorrow and through Monday.

“The North Island – Northland to Taihape and including Bay of Plenty – may see some heavy falls as the front crosses. The second half of Monday the strong northeasterly winds ease and switch to westerlies, so are not so strong.”

Temperatures would be about average for the time of year – Auckland would reach 16C tomorrow and 17C on Monday, Hamilton 15C and 16C, Wellington 14C both days and Christchurch 14C and 13C, she said.

“It will be slightly warmer than usual overnight tomorrow, just with the northerly strengthening – that usually brings warmer air masses over the country.”

Meanwhile fog, which blanketed Auckland this morning sparking delays, diversions and cancellations at Auckland Airport – wasn’t likely to return tomorrow, Parkes said.

“There was a ridge of high pressure over the country, which means clear skies and light winds – perfect conditions for fog.

“There might be patches of fog in valleys, but the wind will be too strong for [elsewhere] in Auckland.”

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