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Potent storm approaches New Zealand

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 27/05/2016

A storm forecasters are dubbing a "Tasman tempest" will pummel the country this weekend.

The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) says the potent storm strengthening over the Tasman Sea will move over New Zealand on Friday night and deliver rain heavy enough to cause surface flooding and winds strong enough to cause damage.

Torrential, windswept downpours are expected on Friday night in the Tasman region, Nelson and parts of northern Marlborough.

In the North Island, the heaviest of the rain will extend from Taranaki through Manawatu-Whanganui and into Wellington.

As much as 100mm of rain may fall, which is enough to cause surface flooding and slips.

A squall line of intense rain and wind is expected to pass through the northern South Island and southern and western North Island between 2am and 6am on Saturday.

Frequent lightning and gusts of more than 130km/h, as strong as what a category two tropical cyclone can produce, are possible.

The worst of the wind will pass through Wellington between 3am and 6am on Saturday.

Auckland won't escape either because heavy rain and gusts of wind of more than 100km/h are forecast early on Saturday morning.

Christchurch and mid-Canterbury are also in for rain and strong wind on Saturday.

The MetService says the heaviest falls are expected about Mount Taranaki, Buller, Nelson and northwestern parts of Marlborough from Friday night to Saturday morning, although for Buller rain may continue into the afternoon.

It's telling trampers rivers and streams may rise rapidly and surface flooding and slips are possible.

Sunday will continue to be unsettled with gusty showers across the North Island with isolated showers and chilly temperatures in the South Island.

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