The upper half of North Island is bracing for more heavy rain over the coming three days, as wet weather continues to plague the school holidays.
A swathe of heavy rain watches are in force across the North Island, with the heaviest falls expected in the Coromandel and hard-hit East Coast.
Aucklanders set to see conditions deteriorate from midday. MetService says heavy rain is poised to strike in time for the evening commute.
It comes as NZTA Waka Kotahi urges Northland drivers to take care on the region’s highways, reminding motorists to be ready for wet and possibly hazardous driving conditions if travelling in coming days.
Rain is already starting to fall across Northland as the bad weather starts to set in.
This morning, heavy rain watches were issued for Bay of Plenty, Coromandel, Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, Nelson and Rotorua.
In holiday hotspot Coromandel, 15 hours of rain is set to fall from 3pm today.
MetService said the eastern parts of the North and South Islands will be in the firing line for the heaviest bouts of rain as the latest wet weather system works its way down the country.
It comes after Niwa reported these regions had already received a year’s worth of rain just six months into 2023.
MetService meteorologist Ngaire Wotherspoon said it was not great news for those in eastern areas who had already seen a lot of rain.
“The network of lows and fronts is currently over Auckland, bringing a span of rain,” she said.
“It will affect eastern areas, with a low centre sort of forming on it overnight. The East Coast would see heavy showers tomorrow.
“Right now, people should keep an eye out for watches and warnings, especially those areas that already have high soil-moisture levels.”
A Waka Kotahi NZTA spokesperson said because of school holidays more motorists were likely to be on the road so it was important to drive to the conditions.
This included slowing down, increasing following distances, switching headlights on, and watching for flooding and other debris on the road.
“Our contractors will have teams onsite monitoring conditions and ready to respond if needed,” said a spokesperson.
“Bad weather can see state highways closed at short notice. Drivers are encouraged to check the very latest weather conditions before they travel.”
Wotherspon said the best place to be right now was down south.
“Most of the country will probably see wet weather at some point this weekend but in Otago and Southland it is not too bad.”
Wotherspoon said holidaymakers travelling on the road should keep an eye on the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency website and be prepared ahead of time should they end up in the soggy outdoors.
This is the second spell of very bad weather hitting the country during the school holidays, at the beginning a winter snap struck parts of New Zealand bringing gales and downpours to the north and south.
Today from Taranaki to the Bay of Plenty northwards, clouds would increase with rain in the far north spreading southwards during the day and easing to isolated showers in Northland in the evening.
Wotherspon said the rest of the North Island was expected to be mainly fine, with areas of frost and fog this morning. Late rain was expected for Whanganui, Taihape, Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne.
Nelson and Buller to Fiordland could expect cloudy periods and scattered rain developing in the evening.
The rest of the South Island would be fine apart from areas of frost or fog inland during the morning and patchy morning clouds.