Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Severe gales expected tomorrow

The MetService has issued a Severe Weather Warning for severe gales for much of the country, including the Wellington region.

A very strong westerly airstream is developing over New Zealand. On Thursday, a cold front is expected to cross the South Island, preceded by a strong northwest airstream.

Westerly winds are expected to reach severe gale force this afternoon (Wednesday) in exposed parts of Auckland, Coromandel Peninsula,Taranaki, Wanganui, Manawatu, Nelson west of Motueka, and also the east of the North Island from Hastings to Masterton.

Winds should ease below severe gale in most places late tonight. But the strong winds are likely to persist in the east of the North Island until around dawn on Thursday.

However, in Wellington and Wairarapa, between about noon Thursday and 2am Friday, expect northwest winds to reach 65 km/h in exposed places, with gusts 120 km/h.

These winds have the potential to lift roofs, cause damage to trees and powerlines, and make driving hazardous.

Gusty northwesterlies are likely to affect these areas for several days, with winds possibly reaching severe gale at times.

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