The windy city proves immune to Lusi's gales

OLIVIA WANNAN
Last updated 05:00 18/03/2014

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Ex-tropical cyclone Lusi could not muster enough energy to claim the capital's windiest day in the past month.

But with forecasters saying the gale-force winds came as predicted, it may simply be that residents of windy Wellington are complacent about anything but the strongest blast.

The perception the cyclone had fizzled out could be down to the fact urban areas around the country, especially Auckland, escaped the worst of the weather.

Less-populated areas were hit with the heavy rainfall and gusts predicted in the warnings issued last week, MetService forecaster John Law said.

The system - downgraded to a "very intense low" over the weekend - arrived in Wellington after dark on Sunday, after a day of tropical temperatures.

But it still dumped 25 millimetres of rain over the capital that night.

Kaitoke, north of Upper Hutt, received 38mm.

Gale-force winds reached 109kmh in Kelburn, with gusts of 140kmh at the top of Mt Kaukau.

But Sunday remained only the third windiest day in the past month.

The Fire Service was called to about 12 weather-related incidents in Wellington on Sunday night, including an under-construction house in Eastbourne which lost some of its roof.

High winds also caused a power pole near Featherston to break apart and catch fire. However, most incidents were minor.

Lusi appeared to save most of its moisture for the upper South Island, with a downpour of between 200mm and 300mm on Sunday.

Like many townships, Nelson had lighter conditions than in rural areas - yet its 84mm was still more than a month's worth of rain.

Auckland escaped the 120kmh winds originally forecast but still recorded gusts of 90kmh.

It also missed the heavy rain that fell in Northland and Coromandel, with a modest 17mm falling in the city as the ex-cyclone moved through on Saturday.

The wild weather caused kakapo conservationists a night of worry, aligning with the first chick hatching on Little Barrier Island, east of Warkworth, in three decades.

But a nest camera confirmed the 3-day-old chick survived.

With Lusi now to the east, settled weather would return, especially after a weak front moved over the lower North Island, Mr Law said.

The front would bring some showers to the capital from this morning. Fine weather, with a few cloudy spells, should then remain throughout the week in Taupo, Napier, Wairarapa and Wellington.

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- The Dominion Post

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