Saturday, February 4, 2023
HomeNew ZealandSevere thunderstorm warning, watches in place across the country

Severe thunderstorm warning, watches in place across the country

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Thunderstorms warnings have been issued by MetService.
Photo: Unsplash / Daoudi Aissa

The country is bracing for possible thunderstorms – as Auckland prepares for a number of concerts on Saturday night.

A number of severe weather warnings are in place across the country, with Southland braced for a thunderstorm.

MetService has issued a red-alert severe thunderstorm warning for the region while severe thunderstorm watches are in place for much of the upper North Island and the Otago area.

The watch included Auckland, which was hosting a number of concerts on Saturday night.

Heavy rain watches were also in place for Taupō and Waikato, as well as Southland, Stewart Island and Clutha.

Southland was expected to see severe thunderstorms from around 3pm.

“These thunderstorms are expected to be accompanied by torrential rain and large hail,” MetService said.

“Torrential rain can cause surface and/or flash flooding about streams, gullies and urban areas, and make driving conditions extremely hazardous.

“Large hail can cause significant damage to crops, orchards, vines, glasshouses and vehicles, and make driving conditions hazardous.”

People were advised to take shelter, secure any loose objects and drive to the conditions.

MetService said scattered thunderstorms were expected from Northland to Manawatū and northern Wairarapa throughout the afternoon and into the evening.

“Between 3pm and 10pm today, a few of the thunderstorms could be severe with localised downpours of 20-40mm/h and hail,” MetService said.

“Rainfall of this intensity can cause surface and/or flash flooding, especially about low-lying areas such as streams, rivers or narrow valleys, and may also lead to slips.

“Driving conditions will also be hazardous with surface flooding and poor visibility in heavy rain.

“The thunderstorm activity should ease late evening.”

Inland Southland, Clutha and southern parts of Central Otago and Dunedin could also see thunderstorms with localised downpours. MetService said.

Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park is one of New Zealand’s most popular free community fundraising events.

Christmas in the Park was taking place on Saturday night.
Photo: Linton Photography Limited

The severe weather comes as Auckland was expecting a busy Saturday, and police were warning people to make sure their plans included getting home safely.

Tens of thousands of people were expected to descend on the city centre to attend the Guns and Roses and Jack Johnson concerts – as well as Christmas in the Park.

Police said if people were drinking, they should have a pick-up organised or put aside money for a taxi or rideshare.

Event-goers should also look out for each other and agree on a meeting point in case they became separated.

Police said there was no easier way of ruining a good night out than a trip to the emergency department or the police station.

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