Thursday, 18 January 2018

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Most in the North Island would do well to pack their wet weather gear today as wide areas will be sodden with rain until early Friday. "A river of subtropical air" is set to douse the country, bringing particularly heavy rain to the western half of the North Island, WeatherWatch meteorologist Philip Duncan said. The rain could spell flooding for certain areas, and high river flows. The unpredictable weather system made it hard to pin down which areas would be hit worst, he said. "You get weird weather from tropical rain, you may get showers and 100mm in the same area. "That is flooding criteria and it may be localised within a small area," Duncan said. The warm front was being fed by airflow from Fiji and New Caledonia, and slowed by a high to the east, which would spare eastern areas like Gisborne. "It will produce heavy downpours, it is a vein of tropical rain feeding in from the New Caledonia area." Overnight heavy rain was to douse the upper half of the South Island, before moving to Taranaki and the western side of the North Island. "The worst of the rain will hit Taranaki in the morning then move to a few places."
Forest and Bird is slamming the commercial fishing industry's "outrageous" request for distressing photos of discarded fish and dead seabirds to be suppressed. Chief executive Kevin Hague told the AM Show it's likely the industry didn't expect its request to Government to be made public. "But that's why we made it so," he says. The commercial fishing industry wants to stop public access to videos and images of fish being discarded and dolphins, sea lions and seabirds being scooped up in trawl nets. The industry has asked the Government to change the law so that the Official Information Act could not be used by journalists, competitors and other groups to access such information, saying it could damage New Zealand's reputation.
The ban comes in the wake of Sunday's 32degC highs. "There is an extreme fire risk for the next two days, with the forecast for even higher temperatures as well as wind," says Elton Smith, the principal rural fire officer. "Already today we have had five vegetation fires across the region, and we're on standby for more over the next couple of days, "The total fire ban means no outdoor fires are allowed, and any existing permits for fires are cancelled." The only exception is for gas BBQs - and they must only be used well away from anything that can catch fire. A low approaching from the Tasman Sea is set to spread rain and strong northerly winds over most of New Zealand from the middle of the week. A rain band associated with the low should move onto western parts of New Zealand late on Tuesday, then move slowly across the rest of the country on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Strong winds are also expected, especially around the top of the North Island late on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Winston Peters says he is confident an international meeting with North Korea will see good outcomes. The Foreign Affairs Minister is in Canada alongside 20 other nations to discuss what to do with the rogue nation's nuclear programme. Mr Peters told Newshub it's vital they come up with workable solutions. "The international community has to deal with everybody's response, not just the North Koreans. "[We must] do our upmost to ensure we act in concert here, in the interest of humanity worldwide. That's what the object should be and that's what we've got to keep focused on." He says New Zealand is committed to implementing UN sanctions effectively. North and South Korea have agreed to hold working talks on Wednesday regarding the North sending athletes to next month's Winter Olympics in the South, Seoul's unification ministry said. The North asked for the meeting to be held at Peace House on the South Korean side of the truce village of Panmunjom in the demilitarised zone that divides the two Koreas, the ministry said in a statement. Mr Peters believes the communication shows promise. "Whatever it is, it's a glimmer of hope and progress. And we haven't had much of that lately."
Temperatures in New Zealand's deep south could reach near-record levels. MetService is predicting Invercargill could reach 31degC on Sunday - its hottest ever day was 32.2degCin 1921. Alexandra is also expected to hit 31, Gore 30 and Queenstown 27. Meanwhile, the overnight temperatures in the upper North Island will reach about 20degC in most places, with warm nights predicted to continue until at least Wednesday. MetService said a deep low pressure system will move east over the Tasman Sea on Monday, bringing wet weather to the country early in the week. Many areas of the country will have rain on Tuesday and Wednesday, along with high winds in exposed places.

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