Debbie's wrath of wet weather set to saturate Taranaki

A deluge of rain is set to soak Taranaki in the coming days.
SIMON O'CONNOR/Fairfax NZ

A deluge of rain is set to soak Taranaki in the coming days.

Mother nature is about to add insult to injury by dumping a month's worth of rain on Taranaki during the next two days.

After suffering through a near non-existent summer the public is being warned to prepare for floods and slips as the remnants of Tropical Cyclone Debbie is set bring heavy rain across the region.

The MetService has issued a swathe of wind and rain warnings for the coming days, extending across the North Island and top of the South Island.

Taranaki residents are being warned to brace themselves for heavy rain and gale force winds during the next two days.
MONIQUE FORD / FAIRFAX NZ

Taranaki residents are being warned to brace themselves for heavy rain and gale force winds during the next two days.

The Taranaki Civil Defence Emergency Management Group duty officer Shane Briggs was advising residents to take some simple actions to prepare for the stormy weather and heavy rainfall forecast from Tuesday to Thursday. 

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"Before the rain arrives people should check that stormwater drains are clear of leaves and other debris to help reduce any surface flooding," Briggs said.

Cloud covers the centre of the country in this 11am satellite image from MetService.
METSERVICE

Cloud covers the centre of the country in this 11am satellite image from MetService.

"The storm could also bring high winds to the region so pick up any debris around your house that could be become airborne. Put rubbish bins, garden furniture and other loose items in the garage or indoors to prevent property damage."

Farmers in low-lying areas should be prepared to move stock to higher ground if necessary, he said.

Forecaster Cameron Coutts said Taranaki would bear the brunt of the wild weather which he described as a significant event. 

"You are definitely going to be one of the wettest places out of this event," Coutts said.

"It's not Debbie but it's coming from the same air mass or moisture that Debbie left in the north Tasman."

Coutts said some parts of the country could get up to three times April's average rainfall in just 48 hours.

"There's a very warm moist feed coming down on Taranaki, so you are looking at 300 to 400 millimetres of rain up on the mountain and possibly 200 to 250mm nearer the coast.

"You could get up to 40mm an hour, that's through to early Wednesday but it won't necessarily be over by then it's really Thursday before it starts to improve."

The Taranaki Regional Council's hydrology section said the average April rainfall from the North Egmont visitors centre was 519mm, at New Plymouth's Brooklands Zoo it was 156mm and Cape Egmont 117mm. 

While temperatures were expected to remain around 20 degrees Celsius, Coutts warned there could be gale force north to northeasterly winds from Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday morning.

He said the wild weather could cause rivers to rise, flooding and potential other problems.

"You have got the gusty winds as well and everything is wet so things can more easily blow over."

The New Zealand Transport Agency is advising people to drive to the conditions and check weather reports with wet and windy weather forecast.

"When it is raining heavily, it is important that drivers watch their speeds, take care not to follow too closely and be really careful when taking corners," regional performance manager Mark Owen said.

"Storm conditions such as wind gusts can also affect high-side vehicles, motorcyclists and cyclists. Road users should also look out for surface flooding and debris on the road."

New Plymouth airport commercial manager Wayne Wooton said the heavy rain could pose potential problems for travellers.

"If it gets to 40mm an hour we could possibly have some issues with water on the runway," Wooton said.

However, the runway drained very quickly and Wooton said heavy rain had only caused problems twice in the past 10 years.

He said due to the wind's direction it wouldn't cause any disruption unless it became excessive.

 - Stuff

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