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Source: MetService
Covering period of Thursday 9th to Sunday 12th March – Wednesday was a wet day for the West Coast of the South Island and Thursday sees the weather continuing in the same vein. MetService has Severe Weather Warnings in force for Westland as well as for the headwaters of the Canterbury and Otago rivers. The wet weather transfers to the North Island for Friday before clearing to leave a generally drier weekend.
MetService meteorologist John Law says,  “Wednesday’s rainfall totals over the ranges of Westland exceeded 100mm in many spots and at Haast a thunderstorm produced over 30mm in less than an hour. Today (9 March), the active front bringing that rain continues to feed more wet weather and thunderstorms into the region.”

The heaviest rainfall is forecast for the ranges of Westland, where a further 80-120mm of rain is possible, however, Heavy Rain Warnings have also been issued for the headwaters of the Canterbury and Otago rivers.  A Heavy Rain Watch has also been issued for Buller and the Nelson Lakes.

“While most of the rainfall will be about and west of the Southern Alps northwesterly winds will be driving some of that rain across into the east. Thunderstorms forming in the east of the South Island  this afternoon are possible as well.” commented Law.

It is a quieter day weatherwise for the North Island today (9 March) but rain and thunderstorms are forecast to push northwards onto Te Ika-a-Maui, the North Island, for Friday. “The rainfall shifts across Cook Strait for Friday as the front moves northward. Rain is likely to be heaviest in the west but should continue to pull away to the north by the end of the day” says Law.

Heavy Rain Watches have been issued for parts of Northland and the Bay of Plenty, Taranaki and the Tararua Range. 

“With rain and thunderstorms in the mix it’s well worth keeping up with the latest forecasts for your area from MetService” suggests Law.
A strong wind watch has also been issued for Wellington and southern parts of Wairarapa.

Once the active weather of the week clears away overnight on Friday the forecast for the weekend is for much more settled weather. 

“This weekend the weather will be dominated by high pressure, which, on the whole, means many spots will enjoy some fine weather but there will continue to be a few showers on those western facing coasts. Later on Sunday rain returns to the far south of the country”.

Understanding our Severe Weather Watches and Warnings

Outlooks are about looking ahead:

To provide advanced information on possible future Watches and/or Warnings
Issued routinely once or twice a day
Recommendation: Plan

Watches are about being alert:

When severe weather is possible, but not sufficiently imminent or certain for a warning to be issued
Typically issued 1 – 3 days in advance of potential severe weather.
During a Watch: Stay alert

Orange Warnings are about taking action:

When severe weather is imminent or is occurring
Typically issued 1 – 3 days in advance of potential severe weather
In the event of an Orange Warning: Take action

Red Warnings are about taking immediate action:

When extremely severe weather is imminent or is occurring
Issued when an event is expected to be among the worst that we get – it will have significant impact and it is possible that a lot of people will be affected
In the event of a Red Warning: Act now!