Gales to pummel Wellington

23:30, Jan 08 2013

Gale-force winds capable of toppling trees and powerlines are expected to hit Wellington later this afternoon.

A front moving across the South Island today was to hit Wellington in the late afternoon, bringing severe gales of up to 140kmh with it.

The gales, also expected to hit areas of Wairarapa, will do nothing to ease the rising temperatures the region has been dealing with since spring.

South Wairarapa rural fire officer Porkie Sexton said although the region was experiencing moderate fire risk at the moment, he expected that to escalate by the end of the week.

The heat combined with blustery winds has increased the fire risk in Hawke's Bay, pushing warnings to extreme in Hastings.

Already in the grip of a dry spell, Hawke's Bay is forecast to endure temperatures about the 30-degree mark for the next two days.


Rural fire officer Trevor Mitchell said the strong winds forecast had the potential to spread fires very quickly.

The whole of Hawke's Bay remains under a total fire ban.

Wellington has also been basking in warmer-than-usual conditions, and broke 30-year-old records last month.

Figures issued by Niwa yesterday show Wellington Airport hit 29.6 degrees Celsius on Christmas Day and fell only to 19.6C overnight - the highest and second-highest respectively for Christmas Day since records began in 1972.

The Dominion Post