So long summer, it's been a blast

TOM HUNT AND TIM DONOGHUE
Last updated 05:00 06/03/2014

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It may have seemed like a dire Wellington summer with a twist in the tail, but it was actually business as usual, according to Niwa scientists.

The capital was hammered by a polar blast yesterday, with giant waves, ferries cancelled and logs strewn across the south coast.

Island Bay resident Kerryn Brodiesaid that, when the high tide mixed with the wind, it felt like "a bomb going off".

Debris, logs, and a large chunk of concrete were strewn across the road on Tuesday night.

The road around Moa Point on Wellington's south coast was closed by a slip yesterday morning, before being reopened about noon.

Debris covered the coastal road between Seaview and Eastbourne but remained open.

Swells in Cook Strait reached 8.5 metres, with Cook Strait passenger sailings cancelled until yesterday afternoon. Ian Mayne was one of about 30 truck drivers forced to spend the night at the Interislander terminal.

He had 58 pallets of Easter bunny chocolates on board. "There's no worries about the chocolate melting on the wharf in this weather."

All East to West ferries were cancelled, and flights and out of Wellington Airport were affected, with six Air New Zealand flights cancelled yesterday.

MetService severe weather forecaster John Law said showers and southerly winds were forecast for this morning, but they would clear. Tomorrow would be fine, with a high of 20 degrees Celsius.

A report from Niwa yesterday revealed that Wellington received normal rainfall for December and January. "People's perception was probably that it was worse, because it got colder in February," Dr Brett Mullan said.

New Zealand was affected by a northerly air flow in January, which turned southwesterly in February. That meant a warm start to summer, but a cool finish, he said.

Northern parts of the Manawatu-Wanganui region got just 40 per cent of normal rainfall. It was also dry in Wairarapa, with Masterton receiving 50 per cent of its normal rainfall.

Kapiti experienced slightly below-normal rainfall, while Hawke's Bay had a regular amount of rain.

According to Niwa, all regions will have near-average temperatures and rainfall over the next three months.

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- The Dominion Post

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