Lusi Weakening, but Threats Remain for New Zealand

By Eric Leister, Meteorologist
March 14, 2014; 6:40 PM ET
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Despite weakening, Lusi will bring the threat of flooding rain and damaging winds to parts of New Zealand into this weekend.

Lusi has weakened over the past 24 hours as it encountered disruptive wind shear on its journey southward to New Zealand.

As a result of interacting with increasing wind shear and unfavorable water temperatures, Lusi no longer possesses tropical characteristics and is no longer classified as a tropical cyclone. Regardless, Lusi still poses threats to New Zealand through the weekend.

Ahead of the center of low pressure reaching North Island, intervals of rain and some gustier winds have been observed at Auckland early this weekend.

Satellite image from Friday showing Extra-Tropical Cyclone Lusi Approaching New Zealand.

Even in a weakened state, flash flooding can be a problem due to the rugged terrain of New Zealand. Widespread flooding appears less likely, but localized problems are still possible. Rainfall will average 25-50 mm (1-2 inches) across the North Island and the upper South Island. Locally higher amounts up to 100 mm (4 inches) will be possible across the Coromandel Peninsula and over the higher terrain of the region.

Coastal flooding could also be a major problem, including in Auckland, with pounding waves. Lusi could bring waves of 5-6 m (16-20 feet) to the northern coastline.

Auckland, New Zealand, Forecast
South Pacific Tropical Center
New Zealand Weather Center

Areas that do not experience flooding will receive beneficial rain. Rainfall for Auckland has been just 8 inches (200 mm) since October, well below the normal rainfall of 18 inches (450 mm).

Damaging winds are also a concern as Lusi moves across New Zealand despite weakening. Wind gusts over 80 kph (50 mph) will be possible across the Auckland area, with higher gusts near the coast and over the highest terrain.

Meteorologist Alan Reppert contributed to this story


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