Gale force winds continue to blow across New Zealand this evening between a large high moving in from the west and departing ex-tropical cyclone Wilma to the east.
Wilma is now joining forces with another low east of the lower South Island, helping push a very strong south westerly flow across both main islands.
The centre of Wilma is now just north east of the Chatham Islands and has travelled an incredible 1300kms in the 16 hours from midnight last night says WeatherWatch.co.nz. The Chatham Islands will be hit with huge seas, heavy rain and severe gales for a time, however the islands are used to rough conditions and the system is expected to pass by with few issues in the coming hours.
The weather news authority says gusts across the country may continue to cause minor problems for the next few hours.
In Christchurch the gusty winds are under clear skies but small branches have been snapped from trees in the inner city.
Further north in Auckland and gale or near gale winds are blasting the city with gusts to 80km/h in exposed places.
WeatherWatch.co.nz says the strong, gusty, winds coupled with saturated soil could lead to more landslides this evening caused by the jarring of the trees being blown.
From the top of the country to the bottom winds are gusting 60 to 80km/h for most main centres.
The strong winds are not over yet says WeatherWatch.co.nz. While conditions will ease in the upper North Island this evening and on Sunday, they will build in the South Island and central parts of New Zealand. The strong winds will be part of a new weather pattern which WeatherWatch.co.nz describes as more “spring like” in the coming 10 days, with more rain in the west and windier, drier and hotter conditions in the east.
– Homepage image / Whangarei Falls this morning, Paul Herbert
*This concludes our monitoring of ex-tropical cyclone Wilma. Please continue to send in damage reports and photos for us to publish. Thank to you to everyone who has contributed updates and photos over the past 24 hours – WW