Sunshine due after stormy weekend

By Ben Irwin, Sam Boyer, Kurt Bayer

Photo / Jason Oxenham
Photo / Jason Oxenham

The worst seems to be over for holidaymakers hit hard by torrential downpours at the weekend.

More wet weather has been predicted for the Coromandel Peninsula and Bay of Plenty today, but lighter than the heavy rain that caused flash flooding in both tourist destinations.

The scattered showers forecast for Auckland this morning are expected to disappear in time for the first day of tennis at the ASB Classic tournament, while the grey skies in the Waikato are expected to lift by the afternoon.

Similarly, the poor weather which forced the cancellation of the one-day international cricket match between New Zealand and the West Indies in Napier will lift for the 25,000 revellers at the Rhythm & Vines festival in Gisborne.

Sunshine and temperatures in the mid-20s are expected across the North Island just in time for New Year's Eve and Day celebrations, according to the MetService.

The better weather outlook comes after nearly 80mm of rain fell in just two hours in Whitianga yesterday, leading to floods and road slips across the eastern coast of the Coromandel.

Chaos struck the Bay of Plenty too, with a "mini tornado" and flash flooding tearing through Papamoa on the coast south of Tauranga.

Papamoa volunteer fire chief Allan Bicker said his crew was kept busy yesterday afternoon as the storm struck.

"It was probably a mini tornado, with a bit of flooding, tiles off roofs, the odd tree down. The surface flooding was because of the quantity of water - there was a horrendous amount of water came down in a very short period of time."

The storm hit about 10 houses, he said, ripping up roof tiles and taking down trees.

Wairakei Ave resident Anne Bernard said the "tornado" passed right over her house.

"It was like a wall of rain and wind, swirling around. I was on the phone at the time and I couldn't hear anything. It was like a howling sound.

"It hit our backyard. I was standing at the ranchslider looking out. The rain was so heavy and dense that you couldn't actually see anything outside of it."

Her property escaped any damage - "just chairs blowing around, pots turned over" - but her neighbours had tiles blown off their rooftops.

"Our next-door neighbour on the other side, they've got a two-storey house and their living room is flooded, just with the sheer volume of water coming under their ranchslider."

A Niwa seasonal forecast from November to January predicted temperatures near or above average in all regions except the North Island's west and the South Island's east.

Storm a 'blip' in fine summer

The storm which hit the Coromandel should just be a blip in an otherwise fine and warm summer, according to a long-range forecast.

The latest Niwa seasonal climate outlook indicates above-average temperatures for most of New Zealand for the next three months.

Temperatures are likely to be near-average or above-average between January and March for much of the North Island and the east of the South Island. In the upper North Island, Niwa expects Northland, Auckland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty to get above-average temperatures.

"Near-normal" in Auckland for January to March is classified as between 19.2C and 19.6C - meaning Aucklanders can look forward to summer days topping 20C. Rainfall in the upper North Island should be about normal at 175mm to 271mm.

In the central North Island the climate outlook is for normal summer temperatures between 15.9C and 18.8C.

- NZ Herald

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