High winds blow through region

TOM HUNT AND MATT STEWART
Last updated 06:56 07/08/2014

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WeatherWatch forecaster Phil Duncan said Wellington was on track for a largely settled weekend but the incoming high was running up to 12 hours later than expected, meaning Saturday's southerlies would continue on through the day. 

Tomorrow's cold southerly blast would fade out across Saturday with showers easing then clearing.  

''Saturday won’t be perfect, but the driest and sunniest weather will be over the ranges into Porirua and Kapiti coast,'' Duncan said.

Sunday would start out sunny and calm but warm nor’westers return by afternoon bringing a few clouds to the west of the city.

Snow forecast for tomorrow would fall to 300m around Wellington in the afternoon and there was a chance of snow on the Rimutaka hill, which had the potential to close State Highway 2 as the weekend kicked off. 

Southerlies would return to the capital next week, he said.

Gusts of more than 100kmh are hitting the Rimutaka Hill Rd this morning while the Wairarapa coast is getting up to 130kmh.

A strong trough of low pressure and a series of fronts were moving up New Zealand bringing snow to low levels in the South Island and gusts up to 150kmh in Stewart Island and Invercargill, MetService meteorologist Liz Walsh said.

In Wellington, the brunt of it was felt in the early hours of this morning with strong northwesterly winds that would continue through much of today.

The Rimutaka Hill had gusted to 104kmh early this morning, while Wellington Airport had gusted to 65kmh and the Wellington waterfront to 74kmh.

Castlepoint on the Wairarapa coast had gusted to 130kmh, as had Cape Turnagain, further north on the same coast.

For the lower North Island, the wind would turn to the west and ease later today, delivering some showers to Wellington.

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- The Dominion Post

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