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'Atmospheric river' bringing rain

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 6/07/2016

Hawke's Bay and Gisborne are in the path of an "atmospheric river" and are expected to be blasted by wind and rain over the next few days.

Storm moisture from the tropics north of Australia is being brought over the southwest Pacific islands to New Zealand and unusually warm ocean waters will play a role in the intensity of the rain and snow, NIWA says.

"The dense plume of moisture can be described as an atmospheric river," said forecaster Ben Noll.

That means from Friday morning through to the weekend there could be heavy rain and the potential for flooding and slips for the east of the North Island.

On Friday that could mean heavy rain for Gisborne and the Hawke's Bay - including State Highways 2 and 5.

Wind gusts could exceed 100km/h at times.

However, the rough weather could also bring snow to the ski fields in the north Canterbury.

The MetService has issued a severe weather watch for Gisborne, Hawke's Bay, Nelson, Buller and Westland, with gales and localised heavy rain falls expected.

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