Good weather for ducks and small kids

BY MATT CALMAN, NATHAN BEAUMONT AND TIM DONOGHUE
Last updated 05:00 30/12/2009
Alan Walsh
ROSS GIBLIN/ The Dominion Post
WATER WORKS: Alan Walsh sweeps water off the green before play in the pairs section of the national bowls championships at Tawa Services Bowling Club.
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High winds and rain are set to lash parts of the country on New Year's Day as the lower North Island recovers from heavy rainfall and swollen rivers which threatened a bridge north of Wellington.

Heavy rain warnings were issued for the Tararua Range, north of Wellington, yesterday as the North Manakau Road Bridge, south of Levin, was closed, amid fears it would be swept away, cutting off 30 homes. Heavy rain soaked campers around Otaki, and areas between Eketahuna and Havelock North were last night bracing for gales expected to gust up to 120kmh.

A MetService warning said: "These winds are likely to be strong enough to damage trees and power lines and make driving conditions difficult, especially for high-sided vehicles and motorbikes."

A support column on the Manakau bridge was washed away last night after the Waikawa Stream swelled to more than twice its normal flow after at least 200mm of rain since Sunday. A digger was being used to divert water.

MetService forecaster Allister Gorman said Levin recorded about 28mm of rain yesterday, but up to 82mm at catchments flowing into the river would have contributed to the rising water levels threatening the bridge, he said.

The rain would continue in the region today, but was expected to pass by tomorrow.

Andy Wright and his son Frank, 2, have spent a sodden few days at the Paekakariki Holiday Park, north of Wellington.

However, the rain did not bother them.

"It really bucketed down on Monday night, Mr Wright said. "We've got a good tent and Frank's cot is above the ground, so it's OK for us. We enjoy camping."

Paekakariki camp manager Marilyn Heazlewood said bad weather since Monday night meant some people had delayed their camping holidays this week. "People like putting their tents up in fine weather. We expect things to pick up quickly when this rainy spell is over."

But despite the miserable weather dogging the lower North Island, things are set to improve.

Mr Gorman said a large high-pressure weather system camped over the Tasman Sea should arrive tomorrow for New Year's Eve, bringing fine weather to most parts of the country.

"At the moment the fronts are still managing to sneak up ... bringing us the rain and wind as they move north. Essentially it's a fine day for the last day of the year."

But on New Year's Day more nasty weather would bring heavy rain to western parts of the South Island and the lower North Island, and winds of up to 120kmh to Wellington and Wairarapa, he said. "We can't say for certain this far out that we'll get them quite that high but it looks like it's going to be a pretty windy day for the first day of the new year in the southern part of the [North] Island."

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Gisborne would be the pick of the bunch, with sunny weather and 25 degrees celsius expected on New Year's Day.

NEW YEAR'S WEATHER

MAIN CENTRES

* WELLINGTON

New Year's Eve: High 17 degrees celsius. Low 10C. A few showers, then fine. Strong southerly winds easing.

New Year's Day: High 20C. Low 15C. Fine with cloudy periods. Northerlies rising to gales.

* AUCKLAND

New Year's Eve: High 20C. Low 14C. Fine and sunny. Strong southwesterlies easing.

New Year's Day: High 24C. Low 16C. Fine and cloudy periods. Sea breezes.

* HAMILTON

New Year's Eve: High 20C. Low 11C. Fine and sunny. Strong southwesterlies easing.

New Year's Day: High 22C. Low 12C. Fine and cloudy periods. Westerly winds.

* TAURANGA

New Year's Eve: High 22C. Low 13C. Fine and sunny. Southwesterlies easing.

New Year's Day: High 25C. Low 15C. Fine spells, some cloud. Westerly breezes.

* CHRISTCHURCH

New Year's Eve: High 18C. Low 9C. Fine. Strong southwesterlies dying out.

New Year's Day: High 26C. Low 14C. Fine. Gusty northwesterlies.

* DUNEDIN

New Year's Eve: High 15C. Low 11C. Becoming fine. Strong southwesterlies dying.

New Year's Day: High 27C. Low 14C. Fine, late rain. Strong northwesterlies.

* INVERCARGILL

New Year's Eve: High 16C. Low 10C. Cloudy and showery. Gusty westerly winds.

New Year's Day: High 25C. Low 13C. Some afternoon rain. Strengthening northwesterlies.

HOLIDAY HOTSPOTS

* TAUPO

New Year's Eve: High 19C. Low 8C. Becoming fine. Westerly breezes.

New Year's Day: High 23C. Low 12C. Fine and cloudy periods. Westerly winds.

* GISBORNE

New Year's Eve: High 19C. Low 10C. Showers clearing then fine. Southwest wind dying out.

New Year's Day: High 25C. Low 13C. Sunny. Northwesterly winds.

* NELSON

New Year's Eve: High 22C. Low 13C. Morning showers, fine spells. Southwesterlies.

New Year's Day: High 24C. Low 14C. Fine. Northerlies developing.

* QUEENSTOWN

New Year's Eve: High 18C. Low 9C. Fine and cloudy spells. Light winds.

New Year's Day: High 24C. Low 12C. Some afternoon rain. Blustery northwesterlies.

* KAITAIA

New Year's Eve: High 19C. Low 12C. Fine and sunny. Strong southwesterlies easing.

New Year's Day: High 23C. Low 15C. Fine and cloudy periods. Light winds.

THE WINDY LOWER NORTH

* MASTERTON

 New Year's Eve: High 18C. Low 7C. Showers clearing then fine. Southerlies easing.

New Year's Day: High 24C. Low 13C. Fine weather. Strong northwesterly winds.

* PARAPARAUMU

New Year's Eve: High 18C. Low 9C. A few showers then fine. Northwest breeze developing.

New Year's Day: High 19C. Low 15C. Fine and cloudy periods. Strengthening northwesterly winds.

* LEVIN

New Year's Eve: High 18C. Low 9C. A few showers then fine. Northwest breeze developing.

New Year's Day: High 19C. Low 15C. Fine and cloudy periods. Strengthening northwesterly winds.

* PALMERSTON NORTH

New Year's Eve: High 18C. Low 9C. Showers clearing then fine. Westerly winds developing.

New Year's Day: High 19C. Low 14C. Fine and cloudy periods. Northwesterly winds freshening.

* WHANGANUI

New Year's Eve: High 17C. Low 11C. Showers clearing then mostly fine. Westerly winds developing.

New Year's Day: High 20C. Low 15C. Fine and cloudy periods. Northwesterly winds freshening.

* NAPIER

New Year's Eve: High 21C. Low 11C. Showers clearing then fine. Southwesterly winds dying out.

New Year's Day: High 23C. Low 14C. Fine weather. Northwesterly winds.

* HASTINGS

New Year's Eve: High 19C. Low 10C. Showers clearing then fine. Southwesterly winds dying out.

New Year's Day: High 24C. Low 13C. Fine weather. Northwesterly winds.

- The Dominion Post

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