Gales, thunder to usher in the new year

Last updated 05:00 01/01/2014
 Boniface Kinnear welly weather
ROSS GIBLIN/FAIRFAX NZ
COOLING OFF: Boniface Kinnear, holidaying from Auckland, makes the most of Wellington’s balmy weather yesterday.

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Boniface Kinnear was one of several holidaymakers making the most of a brief spell of golden weather to end the year.

The Aucklander - originally from Botswana - and friend Simon Dvorsak took turns making the 6-metre jump from Wellington's City to Sea bridge into the Frank Kitts lagoon yesterday.

The pair have been travelling the country over the Christmas period.

The day was a rare stunner in a holiday season characterised by wind and rain. The poor weather looks set to return today, with gale-force winds forecast to make New Year's Day a bracing one across the lower North Island.

MetService meteorologist Dan Corbett said the region was in for an active start to the year.

"Showers will move from late morning.

"There may be a rumble of thunder on the Kapiti Coast."

Thunderstorms were possible into the evening across the western half of both islands.

Severe weather warnings have been issued for the Buller and Westland ranges, with a severe weather watch in place for Nelson today.

There will be a brief lull tomorrow, but by the evening another front will move in, bringing strong winds and heavy rain.

"This is a stronger, more active system," Mr Corbett said.

Severe gales are likely to hit Wellington and Wairarapa tomorrow evening as a series of fronts moves across the country, lasting through Friday and into the first weekend of 2014.

However, high pressure looks likely next week, bringing a spell of settled, sunny weather.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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