Hawkes' Bay: Prepare for deluge

By Sam Hurley

Snow and heavy downpours reigned over the region yesterday, sparking weather warnings and the closure of the Napier-Taihape Rd due to a three car crash.

Hawke's Bay Civil Defence and MetService issued severe warnings after the heavy rain lashed the province in the early afternoon.

A Police spokesman said the Napier-Taihape Rd had been blocked and closed after a petrol tanker, logging truck and light car were involved in an accident. All three drivers had lost control due to snowy and icy weather conditions. No injuries were reported.

MetService said the winter weather is set to continue as a slow moving low creeps along the east of the upper North Island.

"This low is expected to direct a moist easterly flow over central and southern parts of the North Island during today and Thursday, with heavy falls of rain expected about Hawke's Bay and the central North Island ranges east of Waiouru," a spokesman said. "Rainfall accumulations were likely to exceed 100mm in these areas, with 250mm possible about the Kaweka and northern Ruahine Ranges and the Hawke's Bay foothills west of Napier City."

At the time of going to print last night 41.8mm of rain had fallen in Hastings, while 26.6mm had fallen in Napier, in a 19 hour period since midnight Tuesday.

Wind proved to be strong but without the gale force winds that were warned with Napier recieveing a peak wind gust of 31km/h.

Similar conditions can be expected today in both cities with a gusty south easterly keeping temperatures at a high of 13C in Napier and 12C in Hastings. Both will drop to 6C overnight.

Over 100mm of rain was expected in areas north of Dannevirke, South of Wairoa, and the central North Island ranges east of Waiouru.

Metservice media and communications meteorologist Daniel Corbett said Hawke's Bay could expect between 100-150mm of rain - a significant "wet spell" which could cause slips, rapidly rising rivers, and localised surface flooding.

Mr Corbett said Napier would normally get 102mm of rain in July, but the foothills west of Napier could expect between 200-250mm before the weekend.

The region could potentially be looking at a month's worth of rain over a couple of days.

Weather forecasts being monitored by Hawke's Bay Civil Defence show heavy rainfall was expected around Napier and Hastings as well as southern Hawke's Bay through to late today. Wet conditions were then expected to ease off but return on Saturday for a wet weekend.

WeatherWatch forecaster Philip Duncan said the eastern North Island could experience some of the coldest weather of the year.

"A low has stalled over the North Island and will remain there for the next few days," he said.

"It's going to bring rain into places that didn't really get it last week... Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawke's Bay, all those areas are going to be stuck with this low for the next few days. It's going to be cold with rain."

Hawke's Bay Civil Defence group manager Ian Macdonald advised caution and common sense.

"We are going to wait and see what happens, but the main message is use your common sense," Mr Macdonald said. Further updates will be issued by Hawke's Bay Civil Defence as the weather develops.

He said snow had closed the Desert Rd in the central North Island with snow to 700m and "white-out" conditions.

"You've got a gusty wind blowing snow about and you can't see much.

"The way the temperatures are the snow could linger.

"This could be potentially good news for the ski fields in the North Island which have really missed out this winter."


- Hawkes Bay Today

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