Four seasons in two days

Capital gets off lightly during weekend storm

TIM DONOGHUE
Last updated 05:00 15/10/2012
A lone runner finds the going tough as he struggles against headwinds and sea spray at Evans Bay on Saturday.
MAARTEN HOLL/Fairfax NZ

RESISTANCE TRAINING: A lone runner finds the going tough as he struggles against headwinds and sea spray at Evans Bay on Saturday.

Sam Eastgate-Brown
ROSS GIBLIN/Fairfax NZ
TASTE OF SUMMER: Sam Eastgate-Brown,13, of Miramar, enjoys the sunshine at Freyberg Beach on Sunday.

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Wellington's wild weather is often panned as the worst in the country, but the capital got off lightly during a storm that caused havoc across many other regions at the weekend.

Wellington was relatively unscathed, though there were bouts of torrential rain and strong southerly winds - the highest reaching 120kmh at Mt Kaukau on Saturday.

Gusts of up to 110kmh were recorded at Kelburn and the central city on Saturday, MetService forecaster Nic Bonnette said.

The strong winds were accompanied by heavy rain, with 68 millimetres falling on the hills surrounding Porirua and an average of 25mm to 40mm of rain fell on residential areas throughout the region.

Although Wellington woke yesterday to a few morning showers, it was a "season apart" from Saturday's wet, grey mass and residents were able to enjoy some sunshine on the last day of the school holidays, with the temperature reaching 12 degrees Celsius in the afternoon.

Although heavy rain and wind gusts brought down trees and cut power across the country, the South Island took the hardest hits. A massive slip blocked the only road into popular tourist spot Milford Sound on Saturday morning. Dozens of people had to be airlifted out of Milford Sound after rocks, some estimated to weigh as much as 200 tonnes, blocked the road.

It would take at least three days to open the road to single-lane traffic, New Zealand Transport Agency Southland area manager Peter Robinson said.

Bad weather also forced 700 passengers on the Sea Princess cruise ship to take shelter on dry land in Akaroa on Saturday night.

Two boys were trapped under a tree in Whangarei after a massive gust of wind brought the tree down on top of them. They walked away from the freak accident uninjured.

MetService duty forecaster Gerard Barrow said parts of New Zealand were hit with winds of up to 120kmh and lashed with rain.

"The north of the South Island, including Kaikoura, had around 150mm to 200mm of rain and there was also heavy rain in Taranaki and the Tararua Range," he said.

The unpredictable weather is expected to continue in the region today with showers forecast for this morning, followed by southerly winds about midday. It should be fine tomorrow.

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- The Dominion Post

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