90kmh winds, rain to hit region

Campers brace for rough weather

CHRIS HYDE
Last updated 12:00 03/01/2014
mckay
BEACH DAY: From left, Viena McKay, Tearoha Rokorsuka, 2, and Ameila McKay, 8, check out the choppy water at Waitarere Beach. Severe winds are forecast for coastal Manawatu.

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With severe winds and heavy rain about to hit Manawatu, hardy campers in the region are bracing for what could be a rough few days.

A strong-to-severe wind warning is in place for coastal areas of Manawatu today, and MetService meteorologist Daniel Corbett said the northwest gales could be dangerous for pitched tents.

"If they're still there after all that we've been having they're going to need the big tent pegs to stay there during this," Mr Corbett said.

A band with heavy bursts of rain would accompany the winds, which would reach their peak in mid-afternoon.

Gusts could reach 130 to 140kmh in exposed areas of Wellington. The strength of the wind was likely to be slightly lower in Manawatu, about 90kmh, which was still potentially damaging, Mr Corbett said.

Showers would ease tomorrow morning to allow the region to "catch its breath" before another trough of rain came through tomorrow night.

"It's scarcely believable conditions really - it's very spring-like for this time of year. It sort of feels like we're a carwash with the troughs lining up one after the other."

Sunday would be a day of rain, but it would clear on Monday morning as the first high of 2014 finally made its way across the country, Mr Corbett said.

Despite the high's presence, the long-range forecast is also looking bleak, with showers forecast every day next week.

The northwesterly would keep temperatures between 23 and 24 degrees over the next five days, Mr Corbett said. "It's a rollercoaster ride."

The Himatangi Beach Holiday Park co-owner Dennis Penney said the weather had yet to have an impact on numbers, but some campers would likely pack up and leave in the next two days.

He hoped the wind would stay out of the northwest as "we're a bit sheltered by the dunes when it's like that".

For every camper moaning, there is a farmer smiling, with the worst drought in a lifetime at the beginning of 2013 now well behind them.

Federated Farmers Manawatu-Rangitikei dairy chairman James Stewart said pasture growth was good and the forecast rain would put them well ahead of where they were this time last year.

"It was about this time that that massive dry really started, so there's still a long way to go in the season, but at the moment we're really happy with where we're at.

Mr Stewart said last year's summer had caused a lot of pain for the industry but he never approached the season with dread.

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"I'm a Kiwi so I want to be out enjoying the sunshine, too. That way if it rains, it's great for the farm. And if it's sunny, it's great for me. It's a win-win time of the year."

- Manawatu Standard

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