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Published: 2011-01-28 00:00:00

Environment Waikato is reminding residents of the Coromandel Peninsula and eastern Waikato that there is a severe weather warning in place due to Cyclone Wilma affecting the northern North Island.

The updated Waikato forecast is generally for 50mm to 100mm of rain to fall in those areas between 5pm Friday and 10am Saturday, with up to 20 millimetres of rain falling per hour. There’s also a warning that up to 150 mm could fall in parts of the Coromandel.

The rain, with accompanying high winds, will fall on already soaked catchments and, in some areas, swollen rivers.

Emergency management officer Adam Munro said: “With the already saturated state of the region, and high river and lake levels, we need to remain vigilant to ensure we can respond to any problems that arise.”

Mr Munro said the main risk at this stage is for wind and wave damage in the affected eastern areas covered by the severe weather warning.

“Residents, boaties and fishers need to be aware of the risk of high winds and waves. There is also the possibility that rivers could rise quickly, as well as potential for surface flooding.”

EW will work closely with hydro electricity operators to manage flows in the Waikato River and to and from Lake Taupo to help reduce the risk of flooding.

Mr Munro urged people to stay abreast of the latest information on the weather and follow any advice from authorities.

Meanwhile, the western Waikato and Taupo are on a less serious severe weather watch, meaning potential for high rain and winds in these areas as well.

Higher Lake Taupo levels and high winds mean more potential for erosion and surface flooding around the lake. Taupo District Council has positioned sandbags at a number of places around the lake in case they need to be deployed to contain flooding or prevent erosion.

“The heavy rain that’s predicted isn’t due to be as severe as last weekend,” said Mr Munro.

“But, given the already saturated catchments, and high river and lake levels, authorities are making sure we are prepared to respond as required.”