A soggy start to summer is set to continue for most of New Zealand into the new working week, with a mixed bag of rain and sunshine forecast.
MetService meteorologist Rob Kerr has warned the end of last week was “certainly not the end of the precipitation” and “quite a changeable week” lies ahead.
As a cold front which brought heavy rain to western parts of the South Island makes the move north, Kerr said it would bring scattered rain across much of the North Island.
“We will continue to see decent showers from Northland right the way down with a risk of thunderstorms around the Bay of Plenty to Taupō regions,” Kerr said.
A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Rotorua, Taupō between 2pm and 9am today.
From midnight to midday on Sunday, Kahurangi National Park in the northwest of the South Island had recorded 118mm of rain.
Rai Valley in Marlborough had recorded 111mm, and the Tākaka-Puramahoi Airport 93mm.
MetService issued an orange heavy rain warning for the eastern ranges of the Bay of Plenty overnight, with 60 to 80mm of rain expected to fall.
The forecaster warned heavy rain may cause streams and rivers to rise rapidly. Surface flooding and slips are also possible and driving conditions may be hazardous.
However, there will be some reprieve from rain for the South Island, particularly the southern part as a ridge of high pressure is set to hang around for a couple of days.
Rain will be prominent in the North Island to begin the week, with subtropical air present and a low forming just offshore of East Cape.
“Certainly by the middle of the week we will start to see some sunny patches in the North Island,” Kerr said.
By the weekend most of New Zealand will be able to enjoy the warm, sunny conditions and northwest winds, consistent with El Niño.
Meanwhile, the third tropical cyclone of the season in the South Pacific may form this week
MetService meteorologist Stephen Glassey said multiple models were hinting at a system developing near the Solomon Islands around the middle of the week, with the current risk considered to be moderate.
The season has already brought two severe tropical cyclones: Mal, which reached category 3 strength in mid-November, and last month’s Lola, which briefly became a category 5 system before its remnants caused widespread flooding and power cuts across the upper North Island.
“There’s no indication that we’ll get a tropical cyclone coming toward New Zealand at this stage, but we are flagging a moderate risk of a tropical cyclone, somewhere around that area, from around the middle of next week,” Glassey said.