No time for West Coast to dry out

By Hana Garrett-Walker

With little time for the South Island's West Coast to dry out, heavy rain and severe thunderstorms were again lashing the region today.

Since the beginning of the year, the West Coast has been pounded by about three or four severe weather fronts, MetService forecaster Allister Gorman said.

Another burst of heavy thundery rain for the West Coast and Southland prompted the MetService to issue a severe weather warning today.

Earlier today MetService was recording between 5000 and 6000 lightning strikes an hour around the West Coast.

That had decreased to 1400 this afternoon, Mr Gorman said and as the front was moving north it was weakening.

"This one has been roaring through pretty rapidly and most places have really only been experiencing really heavy rain for about five or six hours," he said.

The heavy rain was expected to reach the Tararua Ranges in the lower North Island before weakening.

In the South Island the heavy rain was expected to cause significant spillover in the headwaters of the lakes and rivers of Otago and Canterbury.

"Rainfall of this intensity can cause slips and local surface flooding, and given the recent heavy rainfall events, the public is urged to exercise caution around streams and rivers which could rise rapidly," the MetService said.

- APNZ

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