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Power cuts, delays amid thunder

Last updated 19:10 03/03/2014

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LATEST: A large swathe of Johnsonville was hit by a power cut earlier this afternoon, with electricity being restored just before 7pm. 

Power to the northern suburb cut out about 4.35pm and Wellington Electricity has workers on their way to investigate the cause, spokesman Geoff Thornburn said.

The outage came after thunder rolled through the capital.

It was not known whether the poor weather had caused the outage, Mr Thorburn said.

All trains from Wellington to Porirua this evening have been cancelled due to a signal fault.

TranzMetro has told passengers to expect delays.

TranzMetro spokeswoman Sophie Lee said a power cut had affected signals between Wellington and Plimmerton. As a result all trains had to slow down.

The decision was taken to cancel all the shorter services between Wellington and Porirua but continue the longer-distance trains to Waikanae, with these trains stopping at every station.

The Johnsonville line was unaffected, she said.

The thunder came after many were left wondering, will it or won't it?

MetService had this morning forecast thunder to accompany significantly lower temperatures around 1pm.

But it later said southerly winds gusting up to 100kmh were forecast to hit Wellington tomorrow and that the thunder would likely miss the capital.

However, just after 4pm thunder was widespread in Wellington.

MetService forecaster John Law said a southerly change early this afternoon saw the temperature drop from 18degC to 15C within an hour.

The temperature was expected to drop to 8C tonight and showers were forecast this afternoon.

The thunder and lightning predicted this morning did not occur after the southerly front that pushed through "wasn't nearly as active as we thought it would be", Mr Law said.

The area of convergence that would have created the dramatic weather did not occur  though there was still a slim possibility of some thunder and some "sharper showers" today.

By tomorrow afternoon in the lower North Island, southerly winds would gust up to 100kmh and showers would become heavy. 

A severe weather warning was in place for Wairarapa and a severe weather watch for Wellington tomorrow.

NIWA today released its outlook for autumn. For the central North Island, Taranaki, Whanganui, Manawatu, and Wellington, temperatures were forecast to most likely be near average, and rainfall was likely to be in the normal or below normal range.

In Gisborne, Hawke's Bay, and Wairarapa, temperatures and rainfall were expected to be near average.

At least one flight into the capital from Christchurch was turned back due to the thunderstorms.

TranzMetro said normal service should be resumed on the Kapiti Line at 8pm.

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- The Dominion Post

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