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Published: 2011-01-26 00:00:00

Environment Waikato is urging regional residents to be prepared for a wet long weekend after a new MetService heavy rainfall watch announcement for the northern half of the North Island.

At this stage, it’s expected between 50 millimetres and 100 mm of rainfall could fall across the region at the weekend. While not as much as that which fell last weekend, any new heavy rain will fall on already soaked catchments and contribute to further swelling of already high rivers, said EW emergency management officer Adam Munro.

“The MetService watch announcement is likely to be upgraded to a full warning tomorrow as predicted rainfall totals become clearer. The approaching low system is related to Cyclone Wilma, which is currently moving south from the tropics towards New Zealand.

“For now we urge people to take the prospect of heavy rain into account in their planning for this weekend, and to be aware of the potential for surface flooding and even higher river levels. There could also be strong winds associated with this weather event.”

EW’s flood management team was stood down at the beginning of the week and is currently in monitoring mode. However, Mr Munro said it will be reactivated as necessary as the situation warrants.