2 Nov 2008

Strong winds batter Wellington

12:25 pm on 2 November 2008

Heavy winds with gusts of up to 150km/h disrupted flights, lifted roofs and cut power in Wellington on Saturday.

The clean up continued in the region on Sunday.

High winds battered the east of the country from Otago to Wairarapa from early Saturday morning, with the Capital the worst affected.

MetService says gusts of up to 150 km/h were recorded in the Wellington suburb of Kelburn and the Fire Service says it attended around 50 weather-related calls in the Wellington region.

At least two homes in Johnsonville lost their roofs, two cars were blown on to their sides while trying to cross the Wainuiomata Hill and Massey University's student services building in Mt Cook lost a roof dome.

A university spokesperson, John Tymkin, says the building has been secured but the damage won't affect current exams.

Seven homes lost power from 7.45am - 5pm on Saturday when a tree knocked down five powerpoles in the Silverstream area, and Wellington airport had many cancelled and delayed flights.

In the South Island, MetService issued a high wind warning for Canterbury, especially in the Arthur's and Lewis passes.

In Canterbury, police urged care by drivers of trucks, motorcycles and campervans.

Behind the front, a southerly change is likely to sweep across the east of the South Island, bringing cold rain and snow.

Sunday is forecast to be fine.

Good summer forecast

However, New Zealand can expect a warm and settled summer, according to weather forecaster NIWA.

The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research's seasonal outlook for November to January says above average temperatures are likely across most of the country.

It says though there will be wet periods during the summer, below average rainfall levels are forecast.

NIWA's principal scientist James Renwick says it is likely there will be lighter winds than usual over most parts New Zealand.