22 Dec 2012

Tail of cyclone heads to New Zealand

3:15 pm on 22 December 2012

The remnants of Cyclone Evan are forecast to bring heavy rain and strong winds to the upper North Island over Christmas.

The cyclone hit Samoa on 13 December, causing at least five deaths, major flooding and destruction of buildings and crops. It went on to pound Fiji, where the main island of Viti Levu bore the brunt of the category four storm.

The weather system, now a deep low, is expected to lie near Northland late on Sunday, then move onto the northern Tasman Sea late Christmas Eve and early Christmas Day.

MetService says Northland, northern parts of Auckland, Coromandel Peninsula, western Bay of Plenty and northern Gisborne will get periods of heavy rain on Sunday and Monday.

Northland in particular may receive bursts of very heavy rain as the low passes by, in addition to a risk of easterly winds reaching severe gale.

But the worst of should be gone by Christmas Day, when the low is expected to drift southwards to the west of the North Island and moist northerlies are forecast for much of New Zealand.

MetService warns trampers and campers to keep up to date with the latest forecasts as the low has the potential to cause localised flooding and disruption to transport.