Rain and gusty winds for Christmas

By Sandra Conchie

Weather forecasters are predicting outbreaks of rain and gusty winds in the Western Bay as the tail-end of Cyclone Evan crosses the country.

The MetService issued a severe weather watch yesterday for Northland, Coromandel Peninsula and Gisborne and the Bay of Plenty as a deep low moves slowly southwest.

The watch, which was later lifted for the Western Bay, was for short and heavy bursts of rain possibly 20-30mm an hour to the northeast of the North Island last night and into Monday for Coromandel north of Tairua, and northern Gisborne, and outbreaks of rain for Tauranga today through to Thursday.

Campers setting up alongside rivers and streams in the Coromandel Peninsula's far north are being urged to move to higher ground due to the risk of flooding.

The low which was also forecast to bring strong to gale east or southeasterlies to the upper North Island, is expected to move southwest into the Tasman Sea on Christmas Day.

While the severe weather watch for the Western Bay of Plenty had been lifted, MetService duty forecaster Hordur Thordarson said in Tauranga there would still be outbreaks of rain with 7-10mm overnight and another 5-8mm tomorrow.

He said the forecast for Boxing Day is for periods of rain and strong northerlies with possibly 20-30 km/h wind bursts increasing to 40-50km/h bursts at times on Thursday.

Friday is expected to also be rainy with light winds, and showers with little wind on Saturday and light winds and showers on Sunday.

MetService Chief Forecaster Peter Kreft said: "Evan will bring a large amount of tropical air over New Zealand, which means the potential for heavy rainfall in places with strong onshore winds.

"Christmas Day looks unsettled for many places," Mr Kreft said.

"By this time Evan will be over the Tasman Sea, maintaining the warm, humid northerly flow over much of the country. Rain over northern New Zealand will should have eased but not be completely cleared."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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