At 1am this morning most parts of the North Island were calm and cloudy. By dawn hurricane force winds – literally created out of thin air – brushed the lower North Island, causing severe damage to some properties in Taranaki and Wanganui – the regions closest to where the centre of the storm passed.
By mid morning the centre of the low had tracked inland over a remote part of the Tararua Ranges and passed near Dannevirke. By 11am the centre of the “weather bomb” was offshore from Hawkes Bay and Wairarapa and is now quickly moving away – but the winds are not.
“By midnight tonight the storm will be past the Chatham Islands and by lunchtime tomorrow it will be in the Southern Ocean hurtling away from us as a big gentle high moves in” says head weather analyst Philip Duncan. “But the strong winds on the western side of the storm won’t ease until Saturday evening or Sunday morning for most people”.
Mr Duncan says the speed that the storm developed was remarkable. “I think it’s incredible that 24 hours ago these severe gales across the country didn’t even exist – it was dead calm not only over land but also out to sea – now the storm is significant, but quickly moving away”.
A very strong southerly flow is spreading across the country and rain and showers will continue to affect many regions – but everything is slowly winding down.
Strong winds in Wellington, Wairarapa, Hawkes Bay and Gisborne may not ease until overnight or during Sunday but for many other regions Sunday will be a sunnier, warmer and calmer day.
WeatherWatch.co.nz says the change to strong sou’westers means Aucklanders are now being affected by the tail end of the system – driving in gale force winds with gusts between 80 and 120km/h for exposed areas.
In Wellington winds are down a bit from earlier today but the temperature is also down – with an 11 to 13 degree spread across the city and southerlies gusting to 90km/h.
As the low moves away and the winds change angle some areas will have conditions easing this afternoon while others see winds building – but overall, conditions will ease for most of the country tonight.
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