3 Oct 2015

Thunderstorms, rain and gales on the way

5:37 pm on 3 October 2015

Strong gales due to hit Canterbury tomorrow could cause widespread damage, while the rest of the country can also expect wild weather over the weekend.

Canterbury Civil Defence is warning residents to stay inside as severe gales similar in strength to the September 2013 wind storm are expected tomorrow.

A severe weather warning was in place for the Canterbury region, with gales expected to reach 160 kilometres an hour, and possibly higher in exposed places.

MetService was also warning a front and narrow band of heavy rain and isolated thunderstorms would cross northern New Zealand this evening.

The front should move away to the east overnight.

On Sunday night, a second front was forecast to move up from the south, then cross central New Zealand.

MetService said the weather patterns were forecast to bring unusually strong northwest winds, with severe gales likely in many places including Marlborough, Wellington, Wairarapa and Hawke's Bay.

Civil Defence spokesman James Thompson said the winds forecast for Canterbury tomorrow were similar strength to the September 2013 wind storm which caused damage throughout Canterbury.

"The winds could damage trees, bring down powerlines and lift roofs, as well as making travel hazardous."

Mr Thompson said the dry land could make the situation more dangerous in rural areas.

"We're worried about recent controlled burn-offs that have been held throughout Canterbury and potential embers that are still sort of lingering in those controlled fires, you know potentially sparking up and causing more of a fire that's out of control."

Mr Thompson said people should not light any outdoor fires and any outdoor furniture, rubbish bins and anything else that could be moved by the wind should be taken indoors.

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