Cyclone Lusi ready to hit Wellington

TIM DONOGUE AND OLIVIA WANNAN
Last updated 16:20 15/03/2014

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Tropical Cyclone Lusi is poised to hit Wellington with vengeance tomorrow and Monday, with 120kmh northwesterly gales predicted to hit the capital on Sunday night and through in to Monday morning.

MetService forecaster John Law said northwesterly winds would strengthen throughout the day on Sunday reaching galeforce winds on Sunday night.  ''On Sunday night and early Monday morning Wellington can expect galeforce winds of up to 120kpm in exposed places,'' Mr Law said. 

The storm is expected to move down the western side of New Zealand tonight and then cross over the South Island tomorrow night. 

That means Wellington will get rain as the system passes through - and then severe northwesterly gales once it is south of the capital tomorrow.

And is likely Cyclone Lusi will turn back for a seconde blow,

 

The tropical storm is expected to move down the western side of New Zealand then cross over the South Island tomorrow night. That means Wellington will get rain as the system passes through initially tonight - and then severe northwesterly gales once it is south of the capital tomorrow.

Wellington Electricity and Kapiti and Horowhenua lines company Electra are on high alert. While equipment is built to withstand wild weather, both companies have extra staff on call this weekend in case lines are blown down.

Motorists are being asked to check road conditions on the New Zealand Transport Agency website before travelling. Particular caution is advised on the Desert Road, Rimutaka Hill Road and the Haywards Hill section of State Highway 58.

The impending storm has dampened the hopes for several outdoor activities planned for the weekend, including a charity buried treasure hunt on Freyberg Beach tomorrow.

"On a beach, even if it's just huge winds, it's not going to be very nice," organiser Bryan Hall said.

The Courtenay Pl Rotary Club still hoped the Big Dig, which raises between $10,000 and $20,000 for the hospital each year, might be blessed by the weather gods. The final call on pushing the dig back to its weather postponement day the following Sunday would be made today, Mr Hall said.

"There was some indication [the storm] might be changing direction."

Other weekend events include the New Zealand Festival's popular Power Plant show in the Botanic Gardens, and a gala at Ngaio School.

Across the rest of New Zealand

 

Meanwhile, The Fire Service has responded to about 40 incidents in the northern region today, Auckland Council Civil Defence reports, as the storm makes its way down the country.Most were in Northland but calls were coming in from the Mahurangi and Rodney areas.

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There have been more than 2000 power outages, as well as landslips, rockfalls, trees down and flooding around the region. There were reports of roads being flooded near Auckland Airport and several boats broke their moorings in the city's habour.The largest recorded wind gust in the Auckland area was registered at 122kmh on Channel Island in the Hauraki Gulf.

The Fire Service has received 109 callouts for Auckland and Northland, said shift manager Scott Osmond. 

Northern Auckland was worst hit by rain with 40mm falling today as of 11am.Auckland Council Civil Defence controller Clive Manley said people need to be very careful, especially later this afternoon and into the evening on or near east coast beaches in Rodney and the North Shore.

"We are expecting bad sea conditions which may cause erosion of beaches and nearby low-lying areas.
"People should stay out of the water and off those beaches for the rest of today."

Flooding in Northland near Paihia has closed a section of SH11 and a detour put in place.The Waikato Civil Defence public information manager Steven Ward said there had been power outages north of Coromandel township this morning and a few trees had to be cleared from roads, he said.

- The Dominion Post

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