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Fog lifts at Wellington, storm eases in North

Air New Zealand and Jetstar have on extra flights today to help clear a backlog of passengers stranded by fog at Wellington Airport yesterday.

The airport was closed yesterday afternoon after a heavy sea fog moved in, forcing more than 100 flights to be cancelled and ruining the travel plans of thousands of travellers.

Most Air Zealand flights have gone ahead as scheduled though some early flights were cancelled due aircraft being unavailable after yesterday's disruptions.

Jetstar has put on two extra flights to Auckland and one to Christchurch.

Fog lingered around the airport all morning while long queues formed at checkout desks as affected travellers made other arrangements.

Holiday weather forecast eases in North
Meanwhile, the MetService issued a severe weather warning for the upper North Island yesterday but latest indications show the rainfall is much less than predicted in the Far North, the Coromandel and Gisborne, which are the areas most likely to be affected.

Forecasters had advised Civil Defence to prepare for 70-100mm of rain over 12 hours.

However, while Civil Defence remains on alert for flooding and high tides, no problems have been reported so far.

Heavy rain is expected in the north later this afternoon and could stretchj into Christmas Day, according to latest forecasts.

The rain is caused by the former Tropical Cyclone Evan, which is expected to lie west of the North Island on Christmas Day.

On Wednesday the low and an associated trough are likely to move onto central New Zealand, MetService says. The system is then likely to bring rain to many areas and there is a low risk of heavy rain over the North Island from Waitomo to Wellington, the central high country and in Wairarapa.

There is also a low risk of heavy rain over the South Island in Westland, Buller, Nelson, Marlborough and Canterbury.

On Thursday the low and associated trough are expected to move away to the east and a ridge should bring settled weather to the country.