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Weather: Gisborne warned of heavy rain and possible thunderstorms, Tropical Cyclone Jasper forms near Solomon Islands

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Heavy rain in the North Island continues today, with eastern parts in the firing line as other parts of the country gear up for showers.

At 9pm last night, MetService extended a heavy rain watch over the Tairāwhiti Gisborne region.

The forecaster warned rainfall amounts may approach warning criteria, especially north of Gisborne City. The watch will end at 9am today.

Northern parts get a short reprieve from torrential rain, as finer conditions are forecast for Auckland.

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“Showers are set to spring up again through the central parts of the island but with some brighter and drier weather for Auckland and Wellington,” MetService said.

Meanwhile, the next area of wet weather is moving in to the South Island, with the West Coast likely to experience some showers. The top of the South Island is in for a fine day.

Thunderstorms, heavy rain and hail lashed Auckland and Northland yesterday as “slow-moving electrical storms” rolled over the top of the country.

A severe thunderstorm warning was issued by MetService at 3pm over the Northland region after its weather radar detected a line of several thunderstorms lying from Motutangi and Awarua.

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The severe thunderstorm was expected to lie over Kaipara, the Far North and Whangārei between 3pm and 4.30pm.

Tropical Cyclone Jasper forms, Queensland in firing line

The third tropical cyclone of the season, Jasper, was officially named last night by the Bureau of Meteorology in Australia.

As of 8.45pm last night, Jasper was classed as Category 1 strength over the Solomon Sea, near the Solomon Islands.

“It will drift south-westwards over the Coral Sea over the next 24 hours or so, where it will rapidly deepen into at least a Severe Category 4 storm – it may even reach Category 5,” predicts WeatherWatch.co.nz.

It is forecast to reach Queensland in Australia next week but is expected to weaken before then.

The current risk zone in Queensland extends over 1500km from Cooktown to Bundaberg, including populated cities Cairns and Townsville. In the coming days it’s expected to narrow down to a more specific area.

“The future of Jasper will be controlled by high pressure in the New Zealand and Tasman areas and it’s unclear about precise tracking into Queensland let alone will the leftovers reach NZ,” said WeatherWatch.co.nz.

The forecaster said any storm from the Coral Sea could end up in our part of the world, so it was one to keep an eye on, but for now there was no impact on New Zealand.

Jasper will be the third tropical cyclone of the season, which only started on November 1 and has already brought two severe tropical cyclones.

Tropical Cyclone Mal reached category 3 strength in mid-November, while last month’s Lola briefly became a category 5 system before its remnants caused widespread flooding and power cuts across the upper North Island.

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