Wild weather forecast for weekend

SARAH-JANE O'CONNOR
Last updated 13:42 12/03/2014
Cyclone Lusi
Metvuw.com

BRACE YOURSELVES: A storm is set hit Banks Peninsula on Sunday according to a forecast by website Metvuw.com

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Cantabrians should keep a close eye on weather forecasts as a tropical storm heading toward New Zealand threatens more heavy rain for the region.

The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management (CDEM) has issued a warning in advance of the tropical cyclone hitting New Zealand this weekend.

CDEM director John Hamilton said the Ministry and MetService were monitoring Tropical Cyclone Lusi as it moved from Vanuatu, past Fiji to New Zealand.

Hamilton said Christchurch was particularly vulnerable to further heavy rain "due to its already saturated state".

A Christchurch City Council spokeswoman said the council and Civil Defence would meet this afternoon for a briefing about the tropical storm.

Although Cyclone Lusi was expected to be downgraded to a sub-tropical weather system by the time it reached New Zealand, it could still bring severe weather across parts of both the North and South Islands.

MetService meteorologist Daniel Corbett said there was a risk of more heavy and persistent rain for parts of Canterbury including Christchurch from Saturday night into Sunday. 

"The exact amount of rain that will fall is difficult to pin down today because there is quite a bit of variation," he said. 

"But it is safe to say that given the saturated soil [in Canterbury], residents will want to keep an eye on this storm as it draws closer because periods of heavy, persistent rain could certainly bring the risk for local flooding."

Corbett said Cyclone Lusi was currently lying east of Vanuatu and was close to becoming a category three system, with winds from 119 to 157 kmh. He said the system had potential to intensify further because of the warm tropical waters surrounding it.

Current forecasts suggest the east of the country from Banks Peninsula northward could receive heavy rainfall.

The MetService said the tropical storm was expected to reach the far North Island by midnight on Friday, then move over the North Island during Saturday and Sunday.

The storm could bring heavy rain over much of the North Island on Saturday and Sunday.

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- The Press

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