Stormy weather is now “setting in” according to WeatherWatch.co.nz head weather analyst Philip Duncan. Gales, heavy rain and cold air are affecting a number of main centres this afternoon and conditions are expected to worsen this evening.
“Southerly gales gusting 100km/h are affecting Wellington with gusts to 140km/h on the exposed hills. Huge seas have cancelled Cook Strait ferries and may continue to affect ferry services for possibly another 48 hours or longer”.
Gales aren’t expected to ease until Monday with swells not likely to ease until further into the week.
There are unconfirmed reports waves are crashing over main highways around the Capital this afternoon.
Strong winds are affecting a number of other centres this afternoon too including Lower Hutt (gusting over 80km/h), Paraparaumu (over 70km/h) and gale force winds averaging 70km/h and gusting close to 100km/h are still affecting Kaikoura.
Further south and strong winds and rain have moved further across Canterbury. Winds are gusting to 70km/h in Christchurch but are sustained at 70km/h in Akaroa, which has had gales since yesterday.
The southerlies have also brought rain to regions which weren’t expected to see very much today – coastal Otago and south Canterbury.
Snow flurries are expected to get heavier tonight across the Desert road and motorists are being advised by the Weather Watch Centre to have alternate plans in case central North Island roads are closed tonight.
But Aucklanders have enjoyed a stunning Saturday with mostly clear skies and fresh winds. “It’s certainly a little chilly in the wind but in a sheltered spot out in the sun it’s actually very pleasant” says Philip Duncan. “I’m sure many Aucklanders will be relieved to have such fantastic ‘drying out’ weather today… they need to make the most of it, showers are expected later on Sunday with rain possible again on Monday”.
Mr Duncan says the cold southerly spell will last right through next week as well.
on 23/05/2009 7:11am
Slashed with bone chilling winds and rain.. temps dropped to around 5 degree’s about hour ago in Feilding..Winds are stone enough to bend trees in our street. Road conditions are not the best,. visability poor in some areas. the fire siren going off / on throughout the day in Feilding.
Around Bulls Winds/rain continue to lash and drivers should take care if traveling on highway 1 toward desert road.