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MetService forecast: severe thunderstorms

03-Feb-2005

MetService forecast: severe thunderstorms

MetService Severe Weather Team are forecasting a high risk of severe thunderstorms this afternoon over Waitomo, west Waikato, Taihape, Taranaki, Wanganui, Manawatu, and the Tararua and Ruahine ranges. Downpours of rain in the order of 25 to 40 millimetres per hour are possible.

"These are summer-type thunderstorms", commented MetService Weather Ambassador, Bob McDavitt. "They are formed by the summer sun heating the humid air that has recently arrived over the country. The interplay of surface breezes coming together and conducive conditions aloft have helped us draw the target area for these heavy downpours, but the nature of them is to only appear at isolated spots within the target area."

McDavitt went on to say that when rain falls at a rate over 25 mm per hour the local runoff generally cannot cope and flash flooding results, especially in river gorges or built-up areas. "If a downpour looks imminent do all you can to prepare for a rush of water. People involved in river activity are reminded that rivers can rise quickly due to heavy rain in the nearby hills even if the local weather remains sunny."

Other parts of the country are earmarked for moderate or low risk of thunderstorms today, tonight and on Friday. To view the latest maps visit www.metservice.com and click on 'Weather Warnings' then 'Thunderstorm Outlook'.

MetService meteorologists say that high humidity is in place until the weekend, but elements leading to the formation of fog and thunderstorms will change daily and so those concerned should keep checking with the latest forecasts. There is a good chance of significant thunderstorms in the west of the North Island again on Friday.

ENDS

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