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New Zealand

Wild weather: Warnings, watches remain in place for wind and rain for much of country

Power outages throughout the North Island as seen at 4pm.
Photo: Supplied/ Powerco

More than 1000 properties in the North Island have lost power as strong winds pummel parts of the country.

Electricity supplier Powerco said the areas most affected range from New Plymouth to Wairarapa and Mt Maunganui.

As of 4pm they were showing 1100 outages on their outage map.

A total of 211 homes are without power in Featherston, 55 properties in Pongaroa in the Tararua District and Mt Manuganui, where power is down for 82 customers.

MetService has issued strong wind warnings for Hawke’s Bay, Tararua, Wairarapa and Wellington in the North and Marlborough, Clutha, Southland, Fiordland, Stewart Island in the south.

Heavy rain warnings have also been issued for the Canterbury High Country, the Southern Lakes, Buller and Westland.

Fire in Canterbury

Earlier, strong winds were hampering efforts to put out a vegetation fire in Culverden, North Canterbury.

Fire and Emergency was called to the scene at Pahau Downs just 5am.

The blaze was about 150 metres long in a gully and took out an old shed, but is contained.

Hurunui Mayor Marie Black said crews were working hard.

“We are still experiencing high winds, however we have had a little bit of … nor’west rain which may well be easing the situation, but it’s been fairly intense thought the night.”

Crews from surrounding areas, including Hurunui, also arrived to help. It is not known how the fire started.

Wind gusts of up to 130km/h reported in Wellington

Interislander operations general manager Duncan Roy said Kaiarahi had stayed put at Cook Strait, rather than anchored in Wellington harbour, last night due to the high winds in the area.

Since then, the Kaiarahi returned to its place, and the Kaitaki ferry, which was in Wellington, departed at 8.45am on Sunday.

MetService also had a heavy swell warning for Kāpiti-Porirua Coast – Otaki to Cape Terawhiti.

Police warned drivers travelling on motorbikes or in vehicles with a high point of gravity to take care with the strong winds, in particular for Manawatu, Whanganui-Ruapehu, and Taranaki roads.

“Drive to the conditions, and stop and wait if you feel unsafe.”

Wind gusts of up to 130 kilometres an hour were expected for Wellington.

“A series of fast moving fronts affects much of the country during the outlook period, bringing rain to western parts of central and southern New Zealand and west to northwest gales to many places,” MetService said.

“Severe weather warnings and watches are in force for a number of regions.”

Heavy rain warnings are in place for Canterbury, Westland, and Fiordland while heavy rain watches are in place for much of Otago.

Meteorologist Alec Holden said they were not expecting much of the wind to die down until at least the early hours of Monday morning.

Holden said the cold front was slowly moving across the country.

In Wellington, MetService had received some reports of wind gusts getting up to 130km/h, Holden said.

“Having walked in it myself, I can confirm that I’ve had a few of those typical Wellington pauses as the winds pick up.”

Meanwhile, Fire and Emergency is warning people to be vigilant when burning off paddocks and vegetation given the high winds.

On Thursday, a helicopter was needed to fight a burn that got out of control near Cheviot, in Canterbury; and in Clutha, in Otago, a vegetation fire was started when a burn-off reignited.

A restricted fire season has already been declared for the Upper Waitaki and Central fire zones of Otago.

Fire permits have been suspended in those areas until Monday, because of the current very high fire danger.

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/498167/wild-weather-warnings-watches-remain-in-place-for-wind-and-rain-for-much-of-country Wild weather: Warnings, watches remain in place for wind and rain for much of country

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