‘Damaging’ storms: Tornado warnings, flooding, landslides in place for North Island

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Satellite image taken at 1:50 p.m. on November 22, 2022 showing two weather systems converging on New Zealand bringing unstable air and conditions favorable for thunderstorms, heavy rain and high winds. Photo / Provided

A severe thunderstorm watch is in place for much of the North Island overnight and Wednesday morning, with MetService warning of possible tornadoes in some areas.

According to the MetService website, active bands of thunderstorms are expected to move east across the North Island Tuesday evening and early Wednesday morning.

This can cause “damaging” storms in Northland, Auckland, Great Barrier Island, Coromandel Peninsula, Waikato, Waitomo, Taumarunui, Bay of Plenty, Rotorua, Taupo, Taranaki, Taihape and Wanganui.

These thunderstorms could produce damaging wind gusts of more than 110 km/h in some cases, as well as a possible small tornado, the service said.

Forecasts warn that if tornadoes did occur, they would only affect very localized areas but could cause structural damage including downed trees and power lines and make driving dangerous.

Localized showers of 25 to 40 mm/h are also forecast for areas south of Northland.

Rainfall of this intensity can cause surface flooding and flash flooding, especially in low-lying areas such as streams, rivers, or narrow valleys, and can also lead to landslides.

A strong wind watch is in place overnight for Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay south of Waipukurau, Wairarapa including Tararua District and Wellington as winds can become gale force gales at times.

Previously, electrical storms approached the top of the North Island as two jet streams – one from the tropics and the other from Antarctica – merged, triggering days of thunder, gales, rain and even snow.

The nearly dozen warnings and watches began in the early hours of Tuesday morning and last through Thursday morning.

Rain fell first in Northland and Westland, triggering up to 6 p.m. of stormy weather.


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