World Cup to face a wet and windy start as heavy rain on the way

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Photo: Unsplash / Erik Witsoe

A band of rain and wind is set to dampen the first of this week’s FIFA Women’s World Cup games in Auckland.

NIWA meteorologist Ben Noll is warning of heavy downpours, strong wind gusts and potential surface flooding in Northland and Auckland from Thursday afternoon onwards.

A heavy rain watch is also in place for Westland and Fiordland from tomorrow afternoon.

Noll told Morning Report a low pressure system in the Tasman Sea was set to tap into some tropical moisture in a repeat of the pattern that had already been seen “time and time and time again so far this year”.

“It’s the same sort of story and it’s the northern and eastern North Island that’s going to feel it.”

The rain band, which could bring falls of 25-50mm to northern regions was likely to reach Northland on Thursday afternoon before moving south, he said, which could be unfortunate timing with the World Cup kicking off in Auckland at 7pm that evening.

Accompanying the rain could be some high winds in excess of 80km/h, he said, particularly for the eastern coasts of Auckland and Northland.

The worst would likely be over for Auckland by Friday evening but areas further south already hard-hit this year – including Coromandel Peninsula and East Cape – would be impacted by the rain from Thursday night onwards, he added.

“It does look like it could hang around for a couple of days, so maybe if it reaches East Cape on Friday, it could stick around [there] into the day on Saturday.”

Noll said he would not be surprised to see winds gusting even higher in exposed eastern areas as the weather front moved south.

“It’s not going to be a fun period from later Thursday into Friday and for some areas lingering into the weekend in the east.”

In the South Island, a cold front moving across Southland from today could bring snow to elevations below 500 metres in parts of Otago and southern Canterbury, he said.

The rain set to affect the North Island could also impact Canterbury later in the weekend, Noll added.

“All-in-all, it’s kind of the ghost of La Niña past, we have these weather patterns that are still reminding us of what happened earlier this year … the ocean and atmosphere does have a long memory.”

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