NZ to be drenched in torrential rain

Torrential rain and damaging gales could be a feature for many people tomorrow, as ex-cyclone Ita moves towards New Zealand.

Ita's remnants are packed with tropical moisture - and the low is expected to move into the Tasman and stall, or slow down and then intensify for a time, WeatherWatch.co.nz said.

Gales could become damaging in some western areas, especially the lower western North Island and upper western South Island, it said.

Head weather analyst Philip Duncan said Ita was similar to Lusi in the sense that rain wouldn't be widespread for all regions - but the bursts of rain from Ita may be more intense.

"Across Thursday morning we can expect torrential bursts of tropical rain for some parts of New Zealand, especially northern and western parts of the North Island and across the day in the upper South Island."

Mr Duncan said there was a risk of thunderstorms but the main focus would be on prolonged torrential downpours and gale force winds which would intensify as they crossed the ranges.

Civil Defence has issued a severe weather warning for Auckland.

Auckland Civil Defence said Aucklanders should stay up-to-date with forecasts in the lead up to Easter, and said MetService expected the Auckland region to be hit by strong winds and heavy rain between 5am and 3pm tomorrow.

Exposed eastern locations could see wind gusts in excess of 110km/h. Surface flooding and slips may also make driving difficult.

Auckland Civil Defence said it was monitoring the situation and advised people to keep up to date with severe weather warnings and forecasts from MetService.

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Before the severe weather hits you should:

Check your emergency survival kit and update your household emergency plans

Make sure your battery-powered torches and radios are working and check the expiry dates on all food in your emergency survival kit

Check your drains and spouting to make sure they are clear of blockages

Pick up debris around your house that could become airborne

Bring pets inside

Check on your next door neighbours.

If the severe weather hits Civil Defence recommends:

People stay at home, stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary

Power and phone services may be disrupted. We recommend you have a torch and a battery-powered radio so you can listen to weather alerts. You also may want to have a gas cooker ready.

On the road drivers are urged to exercise caution:

Headlights on

Drive to the conditions

Keep a safe distance from the car in front.

Source: Civil Defence

- APNZ

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