Flooding in Northland could get dramatically worse tonight as
more intense rainfall is forecast for the region.
A further 80mm to 120mm is forecasted for Northland before
Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management Group spokesman
Graeme MacDonald said the east coast of Northland and central
areas between Kaitaia and Whangarei would be most affected.
"The heaviest falls are expected overnight Friday and early
Saturday morning, when intensities may reach 15 to 25mm per
hour, or even 30mm per hour in isolated spots."
Mr MacDonald said given the amount of existing flooding
rainfall of the intensity predicted would immediately
increase surface flooding dramatically.
Severe gales are also forecast for the region tonight.
Mr MacDonald said gusts of up to 100km/h were expected and
they may be sustained for a time.
He said power companies, which have been working hard to
restore power to thousands of affected customers, had some
concerns these could bring down trees whose roots were
already loose in sodden ground.
Far North power company Top Energy this morning reported it
still had about 3600 customers without electricity and was
continuing to work hard in adverse conditions to reduce that
as much as possible.
In the Whangarei and Kaipara Districts, Northpower reported
all but several hundred customers now have power.
Mr MacDonald says many of those will have been without power
for several days now and authorities – including the Ministry
of Social Development and others – were working today to make
sure any resulting welfare needs, including food, would be
Philip Duncan of WeatherWatch said the nor'east winds were
gale force at times in exposed parts of the Auckland region
These would increase towards 100km/h late today and
overnight, Mr Duncan said.