There will be little relief for residents of the west coast as heavy rains, flooding and strong winds are expected to persist and in some areas worsen throughout the weekend.
Residents of low lying areas of Westport on the west coast were told to evacuate before dark on Friday as heavy rains and flooding triggered a local state of emergency.
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Heavy rains have put the wider West Coast on flood alert, with road closures and evacuation plans prepared for residents near Westport’s Buller River, which reached near record highs on Friday night.
MetService has released its third red warning for central Westland at Buller on Thursday evening as an active front moved east through southern and central New Zealand.
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The front brought heavy rain to western areas and northerly gales to many parts of central New Zealand on Friday, and is expected to last through Saturday in many areas.
MetService collected data on total precipitation in affected areas from the past 24 hours to 6 p.m. Friday.
Mount Browning inland from Hokitika, near the Southern Alps, received a gigantic rain of 418 millimeters. Mount Burn just east of Maruia got 255mm, Arthurs Pass got 246.5mm, Hokitika Gorge got 241.6mm, and Paradise Peak just south of Golden Bay got 255mm, the Westport airport got around 75.22mm, Hokitika airport got 86mm and Franz Josef got 143.6mm.
Huge rainfall triggered several road closures in parts of the west coast, Canterbury and Tasman throughout Friday.
On Friday evening, State Highway 6 (SH6) between Westport and Punakaiki remained closed due to a landslide at Meybille Bay and Inangahua due to the high level of the river. A point on the highway was expected Saturday at 9am.
SH7 between Kaiata and Greymouth at Omoto had fallen to one lane and delays were expected.
MetService meteorologist Andy Best said the front would continue to move up the country overnight from Friday to Saturday and Sunday.
Parts of Marlborough and Nelson west of Motueka are expected to experience the bulk of the precipitation throughout Saturday’s final stages. The front would then affect the north of Taranaki, the central high country between Taumarunui and Raetihi, comprising Tongariro National Park, the Tararua range then parts of the Bay of Plenty east of Whakatane and the Gisborne ranges. .
Best said coastal parts of Wellington and the Kapiti Coast could also be hit by heavy storms and swells throughout Saturday, with swells expected to reach four meters for a period.
Heavy rain warnings were also in place in West Marlborough, Nelson, Westland south of Fox Glacier, as well as the Canterbury Lakes springs.
Parts of the North Island were also under heavy rain, including northern Taranaki from 9 p.m., Wellington from 3 a.m. and Tararua Range from 6 a.m. on Saturday.
A strong wind warning was in place for Marlborough, Wellington, Wairarapa south of Featherston and Taranaki.
Strong north-northwest gales were forecast, reaching up to 120 km / h in exposed areas and 140 km / h in Wellington.
Up to 1 centimeter of snow was also expected for the peaks of Lindis Pass (SH8) and Crown Range Rd, which connects Queenstown and Wānaka, in the early hours of Saturday morning.