NEW ZEALAND: Flooding has devastated parts of the New Zealand mainland, with the worst in years wreaking havoc in rural parts of Canterbury.
Water had been expected to recede to below-average levels over the weekend, but was instead rising and flooding was continuing to threaten farmland.
It was a reminder that despite forecasts of a low risk for rain, some areas of the country could still see rain by Sunday, the Met Office said.
On the north-west coast, rain was expected to be less heavy than the rest of the weekend.
However, by Tuesday morning, rain would have washed away some of the high-risk areas, the bureau said.
Rain had also been expected in the North Island.
In the south-west, the storm was expected on the south coast of New Zealand, with winds of up to 65km/h (40mph) and damaging gusts of up.
Winds of between 20 and 35km/hr (15 and 40mph) were possible on the coast and in the inland valleys of the Otago Peninsula.
The severe weather also had a knock-on effect on the capital, Auckland.
The rain, which caused flooding and road closures in parts of New York City and New York, New Jersey and parts of Florida, was expected late on Tuesday.
It caused the worst flash flooding in the country’s history, with at least 25 deaths.
Many homes were destroyed in the storm, with homes in the New York metropolitan area alone requiring extensive repairs.
“The worst flood in New Zealand history will make a big difference,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a statement.
“A lot of the people that live in those areas have already been impacted, they’ve been affected by this flooding.”
Auckland’s iconic Harbour Bridge was closed to traffic for more than an hour and was flooded by the rain.
“It’s very hard to get out of the Harbour Bridge,” Harbour Bridge resident Kaitlyn Smith said.
“I’ve lost my entire house.
I’m in the water, and the water is literally right on top of my bed.””
There’s been a lot of damage to buildings and houses in the city centre, but I still don’t feel like we’ve had any major damage, although I know the floodlights have gone off.”
The Met Office issued a warning that the weather could continue to worsen, and was asking people to take extra precautions.
The weather bureau said the risk of rain was reduced by about 30 per cent by Tuesday afternoon, with rainfall in the northern and central parts of Auckland expected to continue to fall, with more showers expected.
“By Wednesday morning, there should be no further rainfall in New England and the north, although there is still a risk of some rain in the South Island,” the bureau wrote.
“However, this is still the most severe rainfall we’ve experienced in more than 40 years.”
A total of 6.5 million people were without power in the south, and New Zealand’s capital was expected be hit by rain of up from 5 to 6 metres (19 to 27 inches) by Wednesday night.
Auckland was expected in a more moderate rain by Wednesday evening, with only a slight chance of more rain, the weather bureau reported.
“Winds will pick up and the rain will build and build, so if you get a bit of rain in this area it will be a little bit more intense and we’ll see a little more of an impact on buildings,” Met Service meteorologist Stephen Waugh said.
A rain warning is in place for parts of western New Zealand on Tuesday, with some areas expected to see up to 30mm of rain over the next 24 hours.
A forecast for the Pacific will also affect parts of Australia, including the Queensland Gold Coast.
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