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No respite from rain

There is high confidence Wairarapa will have heavy rain today, giving already struggling farmers no respite.

Rainfall amounts may approach warning criteria, Metservice said – mainly in the ranges and the eastern hills in Wairarapa and the Tararua District.

Tararua can also expect thunderstorms and heavy downpours.

Metservice said the warning period begins at 9am this morning and finishes at 9pm tonight. However, this may be updated as the weather system sets in.

Earlier this week, Metservice meteorologists said there was a “high” risk of more cyclones developing in the tropics from the back half of next week – but that doesn’t mean New Zealand is in for a third unwelcome visit.

“While Cyclone Gabrielle has now dissipated completely, we must remember that we are still in the middle of the South Pacific Oceans’ tropical cyclone season,” MetService meteorologist Lewis Ferris said.

Historically, late February and early March marked the height of our November-to-April cyclone season.

“We have assessed a ‘very low risk’ of any cyclone development for this week and weekend; this is the lowest risk available,” Ferris said.

“The first few days of next week remain the same, but the risk of cyclone development does increase in the second half of next week.”

MetService has assessed the risk of a cyclone hitting from March 1 as high, with chances greater than 50 per cent.

Civil Defence issued the same warning that it did earlier this week – that heavy rain could cause further flooding, landslides, and damage to roads.

“Put safety first. Don’t take any chances. Act quickly if you see rising water or a potential landslide.”

It said many communities impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle are already experiencing this rainfall, which will be unsettling for many.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and need to talk to somebody, you can free text or call 1737 to speak to a counsellor, call Healthline on 0800 611 116, or talk to your local GP.

Wairarapa Federated Farmers president David Hayes said these fronts could be hitting the country until April, meaning they could come and go until winter.

He said people need to start thinking about feed management grazing.

“It’s going to start to bite.”

When it came to the rain expected today, Hayes said farmers need to make sure they and their families are safe, and livestock is moved to a safe location.

Masterton District Council said it was very aware of the upcoming bad weather and the potential this has to prolong its current repair efforts, exacerbate current slips and drop-outs, or create new problems in our already saturated areas.

    If you notice any flooding issues on roads, slips, drinking water, or wastewater, please contact the council on 06 370 6300 or 06 378 7752 [AH].

Grace Prior
Grace Prior
Grace Prior is a senior reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age with a keen interest in environmental issues. Grace is the paper’s health reporter and regularly covers the rural sector, weather, Greater Wellington Regional Council, and coastal stories.

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