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Published: 2011-01-27 00:00:00

Environment Waikato says the potential for weather-related problems across the Waikato this weekend has grown with a fresh weather warning from MetService.

MetService has today upgraded its weather watch for the region to a formal severe weather warning, which includes the potential for heavy rain and winds in the Coromandel and eastern parts of the Waikato.

The new warning is connected to Cyclone Wilma which is expected to affect the northern North Island from tomorrow.

MetService says that on the Coromandel and eastern parts of Waikato rain is expected to develop later tomorrow and become heavy by midnight. In the 15 hours from 9pm tomorrow between 50 mm to 100 mm is expected in those areas, with up to 150 mm on the Coromandel.

There is concern that any heavy rain on already soaked catchments and swollen rivers could increase the risk of flooding around the region.

EW and Mighty River Power- operator of the Waikato hydro system - are working closely to manage flows at Lake Taupo and in the Waikato River.

There are also likely to be high onshore waves on the east coast of the Coromandel and boaties and fishers should be vigilant.

Meanwhile, MetService has also put the western Waikato and Taupo on a less serious weather watch status, meaning potential for heavy rain and winds there as well.

Emergency management officer Adam Munro said that, with Lake Taupo already above its maximum control level, any heavy rain and winds around Taupo at the weekend could raise the risk of surface flooding and erosion around the lake.

“Our flood management team at EW will be keeping a close eye on the various situations around the region and, in conjunction with other agencies, we’ll advise of any action people need to take.”

He urged people making plans for the long weekend to take the warnings into account.