13 Jan 2012

Gales forecast for central NZ

10:00 pm on 13 January 2012

Severe gales are forecast to continue in central and southern parts of the North Island as well as at the top of the South Island on Friday night.

MetService has issued a severe weather warning for all regions from Hawke's Bay through to Nelson, where gusts of up to 140km/h are possible in exposed areas.

Police in Wellington say the Rimutaka Hill Road has been closed on Friday night due to high winds.

A warning is also in place for Buller and Westland where heavy rain could fall at a rate of 15 millimetres an hour, causing rivers and streams to rise rapidly.

However Nelson and Golden Bay, deluged by rain in December, would not be seriously affected this time.

MetService severe weather forecaster Mads Naeraa says the wind and rain should start to ease early on Saturday.