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Published: 2002-06-20 00:00:00

Environment Waikato’s Flood Response Team is on alert for the “weather bomb” approaching from the north.

A deepening low is bringing stormy conditions to many parts of the North Island, with severe winds and heavy rain already pounding the Thames Coast.

The MetService is warning residents and travellers in Northland, Auckland, the Coromandel, Waikato and Bay of Plenty to prepare for a spell of damaging winds and rain up to 20mm an hour in places.

Environment Waikato spokesman Jim Price said the rain is falling on an already wet catchment throughout the Waikato after weeks of rain. Rivers are coping so far but will react more quickly. Lake Taupo is two thirds full so there is still some storage capacity.

In Thames, Victoria Street is already closed at the first ford with 450mm of floodwaters flowing across the road, and at Kennedy Bay floodwaters are crossing the road near the Whareora Stream, preventing a school bus from reaching its destination.