Water spout seen in Taranaki amid stormy weather

Last updated 13:50 14/05/2012
tdn spout stand
Ross Bennett
A water spout spotted off the coast of Oakura.

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A water spout spotted off the coast of Oakura this morning wouldn't cause any major damage says MetService forecaster Andy Downs.

Earlier today Ross Bennett photographed and filmed a large water spout as it moved along the coast about 11am.

"After the two sudden hail showers I looked out to sea to see a large water spout sitting in line with the village," Mr Bennett said.

Bennett, who helped clean up after the 2007 tornados, said the sight of the spout was quite scary.

"It was alarming to see one of that size looking so menacing. I couldn't tell how close it was to the beach but it I could see it thrashing the water up from the sea," he said.

After watching the spout for some time Bennett said it thinned out and moved south.

Downs said water spouts and small tornadoes were a possibility with the current weather conditions, but they wouldn't do any major damage.

"They are usually isolated and short-lived," he said.

"Water spouts normally aren't much of a concern but small tornadoes could damaged trees and unsecure structures."

Warm moist air at lower levels and cold air above was what generated the heavy rain and thunderstorms the region has been experiencing this morning, Mr Downs said.

This then turned into water spouts and tornadoes when the wind began to rotate, he said.

 "The key ingredient for water spouts and tornadoes is a rotation and in this case the lower wind has shifted in a way that's created a strong level ascent of air."

Downs said there was a possibility of more spouts, tornadoes and hail storms over the course of the day.

Earlier today a severe weather warning was issued by the MetService predicting heavy rain and thunderstorms until the early evening.

 

Rain  pounded the central North Island overnight, with heavy downpours and thunderstorms were expected through until this afternoon.

Taranaki and Waitomo bore the brunt of the weather, with about 75mm of rain falling in the Taranaki area since midnight.

The rain was not expected to ease until this evening, MetService forecaster John Law said.

The west coast of both islands had also experienced heavy rainfall, while the east coast had calmer conditions.

The country could expect further rainfall this week, but it should ease and not be as heavy, Law said.

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A norwesterly flow would be replaced with a southwesterly, which would bring cooler temperatures tomorrow through to at least Wednesday.

Snow was expected above 400 - 500 metres in Southland, Fiordland, Otago and Canterbury on Tuesday and could affect higher roads in these regions.

- Stuff

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