Emergency services were on standby overnight as parts of the country were set to be lashed by thunderstorms and torrential rain, with Canterbury receiving the full brunt of the weather system.
For the second time ever, MetService issued a rare red warning for heavy rain for Canterbury, south of Amberley. That warning will be valid until Monday at 11am.
Christchurch residents were warned the deluge would most likely reach dangerous levels, and some were reporting that some streets were already water-logged.
By 8.30pm on Saturday, Methven had received 31mm of rain in about five hours, with 26mm in Geraldine and 20mm in Darfield.
National Emergency Management Agency communications manager Anthony Frith said they were bracing for serious flooding in some regions. Niwa was forecasting a rapid increase in river flows across Canterbury.
On Saturday, more than 1000 lightning strikes were recorded around the country in a span of just two hours.
Meteorologist Ashelee Parkes said the wild weather isn’t expected to stop. New Zealand is set to endure a mixed bag of weather next week as more severe rain, warm temperatures and heavy snow are set to batter the country.
“This weekend and into Monday we do have significant weather over the country,” she said.
There is a “deep and very slow-moving low in the Tasman Sea” which will bring northerlies across the North Island and easterlies across the South Island.
This means more rain is on the horizon – people on the east coast of the South Island andwest coast of the country may want to pack a brolly and rain jacket as they may be lashed by more heavy rain.
But, this rain will bring “slightly warmer” weather so a rain jacket may be the only extra layer need. The low moving across the country will drag some southern tropics warm air into the country. Which will be a nice change from the cooler temperatures New Zealanders experienced this week.
“Some regions that are getting this rain might feel slightly muggy or humid,” Parkes said.
The east coast of the South Island should expect a “good southerly” on Monday, but the lower half of the North Island, including Wellington and the Wairarapa, along with the Gisborne region, is set to be doused with more rain.
As the top half of the country is bracing for more heavy rain, the South Island may see some heavy snow.
Parkes said heavy snowfall is expected above 1000 metres, meaning those areas will be hitting cooler temperatures.
“Going into the rest of the week, eastern areas should be mainly fine. There may be scattered high cloud and certain areas will see some showers.”
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