Auckland drenched by rain with more to come

Travellers to Auckland in New Zealand have been advised to prepare for the heavy rains that have been lashing the city.

The weather in Auckland has been unseasonably wet, and even more rain is forecast to be on the way. Canterbury and Otago are however likely to earn a temporary reprieve from the downpour that has been raging over those cities for several days, but they too have been warned to expect a return to the wet weather soon.

Weather watchers have said that there is a possibility of spotting a funnel cloud over Auckland. Funnel clouds have the capacity to become a tornado if they touch the ground, but such an eventuality is not expected in this case. The extremely high levels of rain that the city has been experiencing have fostered apprehensions that there could be serious flooding risk unless the downpours end soon.

An analyst with said, ‘There’s a lot of instability around Auckland today. Huge cloud build ups, big showers and some of the ingredients needed to create funnel clouds.’

It has been reported that the main area of showers is moving over South Auckland now, and conditions could improve soon. Weather analysts expect the rain to remain heavy for a few more days, after which sunny spells are predicted to offer a break in the weather.

North Otago rural residents were asked by authorities not to embark on any non-essential travel after flooding closed 43 roads in the region. The same applies to tourists bound for, or passing through the region. Rivers have swollen, with several of those in the region having reached their peak last night. It was also possible that temperatures could touch 20 degrees in some isolated pockets.


Motorists warned to be cautious of rain showers after hot weather

With showers sweeping the country after the recent hot weather, drivers are being warned to be extra cautious on the roads.

Although driving in the rain can be hazardous, Swinton is warning that driving after the first downpour of showers following hot or dry weather is particularly bad as it can bring oil and lubricant to the surface of the road. This slick can interfere with a motorists ability to drive and can markedly increase the risk of skidding or spinning.

Swinton, the UK’s leading high street retailer of car insurance, advises that motorists take extra caution on the road directly after a substantial downpour, especially if it hasn’t rained in a considerable amount of time. Motorists should drive at a safe and steady speed. Travelling at high speeds or breaking suddenly will increase drivers’ risk of skidding.

Swinton is also advising motorists to make sure they have the safe and legal tread depth standard on their tyres, which is no less 1.6mm. Tyre pressure is equally as important as brakes and steering will be adversely affected by under-inflated or over-inflated tyres. Keeping the tyre pressure and tread depth standards will ensure optimum performance in wet weather conditions.

It is also important that motorists check the fluid levels in their vehicles as low brake fluid may result in brake failure. The stopping distance for a vehicle increases in the rain by four times more than a dry surface so brake failure is even more likely to result in a crash. Drivers should make sure they recognise the low fluid warning lights on their vehicle.

Steve Chelton, Insurer development manager at Swinton, said: “When motorists drive along the roads when it’s dry, they may leave residue and drip oil on the roads that will accumulate until it rains. The first downpour of rain often brings this oil and residue to the surface and can seriously reduce tyre traction.”

“Drivers should ensure they have the correct tyre tread and travel at a safe and steady speed. Skids and spins are a common cause of car accidents and damage, which could result in higher car insurance premiums.”