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Wild weather lashes NZ

Wild weather lashes NZ

After Tropical Cyclone Debbie thrashed Queensland last week, the storm's remnants hit New Zealand this week causing flooding and widespread disruption.

Niwa forecaster Ben Noll said the Tropical Torrent produced up to three times the normal April rainfall for some locations in just three days.

He said the remnant energy from ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie formed an atmospheric river - a long, narrow region in the atmosphere transporting water vapour. Research indicates that in New Zealand, atmospheric rivers occur about 40 days out of the year and are linked to about half the country's rainfall extremes.

Nowhere was worst hit than Bay of Plenty's Edgecumbe, where the breached floodbanks sent floodwaters through the town (pictured - Bay of Plenty Regional Council). While the Rangitāiki River level was receding by Friday morning, floodwaters continued to stream through the breached stop bank.

Prime Minister Bill English has said there will be a full investigation into the Edgecumbe flooding.

Victoria University of Wellington's Professor James Renwick told Radio NZ that the risk of seeing such storms was increasing, with warming oceans sending more moisture into the atmosphere.

"It's not as though every time there's a storm it's going to be like this, or that there's going to be torrential rain every month, but it's pushing the odds."

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