Weather: Heavy rain, strong winds, thunderstorms about to hit Northland, move down North Island

Heavy rain, strong winds and thunderstorms are set to lash parts of Aotearoa from today as a low-pressure system moves in from the Tasman Sea.

The rain could create surface flooding and slips, and strong winds could snap tree limbs and whip up rough seas along the east coast, according to forecasters.

Parts of Northland are already getting rain, but the deluge is forecast to really set in from 11am, when an orange heavy rain warning is in place.

“Downpours 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,” MetService warns.

“Driving conditions could be hazardous, with surface flooding and poor visibility in heavy rain.”

There is also a risk of a localised tornado.

MetService said there was currently a low risk of severe thunderstorms, but that could be upgraded.

The heavy rain warning for Northland lasts until 9am on Monday, when downpours can be expected further down the North Island.

Auckland can expected a cloudy Sunday with scattered showers, but rain will develop from the north this afternoon. Strong northeasterly winds are forecast, with gusts of 90km/h possible from later today.

The heaviest rain in Auckland and Great Barrier Island is due on Monday, particularly north of the Harbour Bridge, with a heavy rain watch in place from 6am to 4pm.

The Coromandel Peninsula, Bay of Plenty west of Ōpōtiki and Taranaki are also under heavy rain watches on Monday.

Thunderstorms and localised downpours are possible, and rain could reach warning amounts.

Niwa is also warning eastern coastal areas will be buffeted by strong northeasterlies today and tomorrow, with potential for tree limbs to come down and rough seas to be whipped up.

The rainmaker will also affect the northwestern edge of the South Island, particularly Buller. But the east coast and lower part of the South Island are expected to remain dry, MetService forecasts.

Weatherwatch said the forecast for early next week was for “unstable” weather, with downpours likely and a chance of thunderstorms.

“This is the result of very moist warm air at the surface and cold upper air,” the forecaster said.

“The exact placement of these storms at this stage is a little hard to define but anywhere about the upper and western North Island looks to be in with a chance, especially as frontal zones and troughs move through.

“Monday and Tuesday still look to have reasonably strong wind dynamics so a small tornado is also a possibility.”

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