Wild weather sweeps country
Power cuts, slips and floods in storm's wake
Gale-force winds battered Wellington at the weekend, knocking out power to thousands of homes and bringing down trees.
Wind gusts of up to 130kmh were recorded in Wellington yesterday morning as a storm that buffeted the South Island moved north.
Though the city was treated to blue skies yesterday afternoon, the wild weather continued further south, with flooding closing State Highway 1 south of Ashburton and forcing the evacuation of a campground near Omarama.
Flying debris from the Wellington gales was also responsible for knocking out power to 3000 homes in the region early yesterday.
Wellington Electricity Lines spokesman Damien Batey said power cuts affected Brown Owl and Silverstream in Upper Hutt, Gracefield in Lower Hutt and Johnsonville.
Power was restored within two to three hours, Mr Batey said.
A Hataitai family was left with a newfound appreciation of Wellington's wind power.
The Armstrong-Pride family woke yesterday to find their trampoline had been flung 20 metres through the air and was wedged against the back of their Matai Rd home.
Stephanie Armstrong-Pride said her sons Alexander, 10, and William, 7, had a newfound respect for Wellington's famous wind. "The trampoline normally takes four adults to lift. We woke up to find it jammed up against the back of the house and our shed ... it flew across the garden.
"The boys were very surprised by this," she said.
Firefighters from the Rongotai fire station manhandled the trampoline back to its rightful place at the back of the section.
Slips and fallen trees on the Rimutaka Hill Road reduced the road to one lane on the Upper Hutt side of the hill. Roading contractors worked on clearing the slips yesterday.
In Rangitikei, police warned van and truck drivers to take particular care near Bulls because of the high winds.
In Hawke's Bay, high winds yesterday morning blew a tree across State Highway 2 about 15km north of Napier, police said.
Regional council Environment Canterbury issued flood warnings early yesterday for several rivers in the region.
It blamed heavy rainfall in the Southern Alps, combined with snow melt and an already wet catchment for the high levels of the rivers.
In the Mackenzie Basin, the Omarama Stream burst its banks. The council urged the public to take care near all South Canterbury rivers.
There was a brief spell of heavy, thundery rain in the Marlborough Sounds, Tararua Range and Mt Taranaki yesterday morning but it eased as the weather front moved toward the central North Island.
Another front is forecast to bring heavy rain to the ranges of Westland and Buller in the South Island this morning, MetService said. The front was expected to pass reasonably quickly, with the rain falling for six to nine hours at the most.
Places to peer at you from (pictures)
TGIF: Nuclear Submarine edition
Can Dynamo save magic on TV?
Captain Sensible got too near the flame
Win 7 Days tix, insulation, Woolly Pockets!
Butter me up
Showing love for longfins
Scary games scare the crap out of me
The Great Outdoors
What's the best gig merch you've seen?
The paradox of reading choice
Wedding woe: Too many BMs