Intense rain in Auckland

HARRY PEARL, MICHAEL FIELD AND MICHAEL DALY
Last updated 22:22 03/04/2014
Metservice
MetService
DOWNPOUR: Hamilton Airport recorded more rainfall today than all of March, MetService said.

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It is raining so hard on Auckland's drought, there is now flooding.

Twitter was trending earlier with the unusual breaking news that rain is pounding down, with black clouds and some thunder darkening the city's dry lawns.

The downpour caused surface flooding in parts of Auckland, including inner-city streets.

This evening police closed Onehunga Harbour Rd, which connected to the South-Western Motorway.

It had suffered serious flooding, and a police spokesman said a nearby electrical substation was of some concern.

Just yesterday Auckland was being described as the worst drought-affected area in the country.

Federated Farmers Auckland president Wendy Clark said Auckland had gone about three months without any significant rain and Cyclone Lusi gave little or no relief to farmers in the area.

Farmers were beginning to compare this year's drought to the drought of 1974, when significant rain did not fall until the end of May.

MetService has yet to declare the drought over, but on its site it says the central business district and South Auckland have been hit with intense rain.

More rain has fallen in parts of the city than fell during the cyclone.

Metservice has forecast the rain to clear by tomorrow morning, with a chance of showers in the afternoon.

FLOODING IN HAMILTON

Hamilton, meanwhile, received more rainfall this morning than in all of March – which was its second-driest March on record.

The month followed on from its sixth-driest February.

Hamilton Airport recorded 8 millimetres of rain today compared with just 6mm last month, MetService meteorologist Dan Corbett said.

The morning's dousing led to reports of minor flooding in River Rd.

Corbett said there would be isolated showers in much of Waikato today, with thunderstorms in the Coromandel Peninsula.

"Showers will be passing through today and [there] might be a few tomorrow."

NIWA FORECAST

Niwa's monthly climate summary for last month shows Palmerston North also having its driest March on record, while Christchurch had its wettest.

The month was characterised by unusually high pressure over much of the country, particularly the South Island, Niwa said.

For most of the North Island, March picked up where February ended, with abnormally dry conditions for the start of autumn.

A sizeable part of the North Island between the Manawatu-Wanganui and Auckland regions, had less than half normal March rainfall.

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Many places were within their top three driest March months on record, including Hamilton.

At the other end of the spectrum, Riccarton in Christchurch had its wettest March on record, with more than four times normal. Of the 200mm recorded there during the month, 123mm fell on March 4 – the largest one-day March rainfall figure on record for the city.

Palmerston North had its driest month with just 9mm – 14 per cent of normal – falling.

Motu – between Opotiki and Gisborne – also had its driest March on record with just 16mm of rain during the month, while Westport had its driest March, recording 25mm.

Temperatures were as a whole near average across the country, although Kaitaia did record its lowest minimum March temperature on record, with a reading of 4.7 degrees Celsius.

Taumarunui and Turangi had record low mean minimum temperatures for March, with 7.1C and 6.7C, respectively.

In contrast to the widespread dryness, the hills around Coromandel received 150 per cent of normal rainfall, mainly because of Cyclone Lusi. Some eastern areas of Canterbury and Otago also received well above normal rainfall.


- Fairfax Media

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