Strong winds are building over New Zealand as a large high to the north west pushes against a deep low to the south. Winds are reaching hurricane force across the lower North Island with gales spreading right across eastern parts of the North Island. “New Zealand is basically in the squeeze zone between these two systems. While it should be dry and mild for most holiday spots for the remainder of Labour Weekend it is certainly going to be windy” says Head Weather Analyst Philip Duncan.
Winds of 150km/h (hurricane force) are currently being clocked at Castlepoint and Duncan warns motorists crossing the Rimutaka Ranges to take extreme care. “These winds are not just gusty, they’re also incredibly dangerous and easily capable of blowing cars off roads”. He advises motorbikes and large vehicles to completely avoid the area.
Further north and winds close to 100km/h are affecting inland Hawke’s Bay. MetService has issued a severe wind warning, expecting gusts to 120km/h overnight tonight.
Duncan says he expects winds to strengthen further and on Monday could be severe in some areas. He says those flying home from airports in the lower North Island on Monday should keep up to date with weather conditions and their airline in case of flight delays or cancellations.