More weather troubles forecast for cyclone-stricken Gisborne

By Mana Wikaire-Lewis

MetService has issued a heavy rain watch for Gisborne only days after wild weather brought to the region by ex-tropical cyclone Hale.

The watch applies from Wednesday morning through to Thursday afternoon but the region is still under a state of emergency as cleanup from the cyclone’s destruction continues.

Early on Wednesday a subtropical low is expected to reach the North Island. By early Thursday it is expected to be close to the north of East Cape. The low is expected to move away on Thursday and head southeast.

There is also a risk of heavy rain in northern Hawke's Bay and severe gales, with east to southeasterly winds in eastern Bay of Plenty.

MetService says the rain watch has potential to upgrade to a warning, especially north of Tologa Bay.

A MetService tweet says parts of Te Tai Rāwhiti “will potentially get around 80-100mm of rain in a 24-hour period”.

Many roads in the region are still closed due to fallen trees, washout and the like. Speed restrictions apply on State Highway 35 and other local roads. Contractors continue to work to get as many of the roads cleared and safe to drive for motorists as possible.

State Highway 35 between Tologa Bay and Ruatoria is open daily only from 7am to 7pm for motorists until further notice.

Meteorologists are also keeping an eye on weather troubles brewing over the Coral Sea as lows on the trough extend east-southeast. There is a moderate chance of a tropical cyclone forming west of Vanuatu from tomorrow. Strong winds and heavy rain are expected to affect Vanuatu and northern parts of New Caledonia late Wednesday and during Thursday.

So far there is no indication that, if formed, the cyclone would hit New Zealand.