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Ita slamming into New Zealand

Rob Sharpe, Thursday April 17, 2014 - 15:27 EST

Ita's remnants have gained strength in time to lash New Zealand with damaging wind and flooding rains to rival its impact on Queensland.

Severe Tropical Cyclone Ita crossed the Queensland Coast on Friday evening last week, before it quickly weakened to category one strength over land. The system brought flooding rain and gale force winds as far south as the Central Coast before it moved into the Coral Sea.

On its long journey across the ditch Ita performed an extra-tropical transition. This means that it has transitioned from a warm-core tropical system to a cold-core system.

As Ita approached New Zealand it has intensified through combining with another low pressure system that brought showers and gusty southerlies to the New South Wales coast during the past week. Now with all of this new-found strength it is slamming into New Zealand, leading to considerable damage.

The powerful low is now situated to the west of the North Island and is driving moisture-laden northeasterlies across the nation. Winds are reaching well over 100km/h in central parts of New Zealand, primarily about the west coast and ranges.

Auckland has already seen its burst of heavy rain and strong winds. The city had its heaviest rain in four months with 45mm, along with wind gusts reaching 83km/h. Nearby areas have seen wetter and windier conditions than in the city.

As the low heads further south it is drawing the heavy falls with it, with flooding likely in some areas. The focus of the heavy rain should be on the lower North Island and the upper and eastern South Island. Wellington's eastern hills, Canterbury and eastern Otago should all be in the firing line of upcoming heavy rain.

The system will be quite slow moving, meaning that areas that receive the heaviest rain could rival falls gained in flood affected Queensland.

New Zealand will finally see respite from Ita by Easter Sunday after the system moves across the South Island on Saturday. Unfortunately a trough or weak low is likely to see rain briefly increase on Sunday over much of New Zealand. Easter Monday should then be the driest day of the Easter long weekend, but there still looks to be showers in some parts.

- Weatherzone

© Weatherzone 2014

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