Overnight winds batter South, heading North

23:48, Aug 01 2014

Winds that have battered the South Island are easing, and now have the lower North Island in their sights.

Tomorrow morning many western and northern parts of the North Island could be in for a period of heavy rain as a strong, moist northwest flow covers the island.

"Most of the strong winds in the South Island are easing, except for in the Marlborough area which will ease this evening," MetService duty meteorologist Mariken van Laanen said.

Milford had a gust of 92kmh about 3am.

Wanaka Airport had a gust of 90kmh yesterday afternoon. "That's quite a lot for them," she said. In Alexandra a gust got up to 88kmh yesterday afternoon.

It had remained "quite windy" over the South Island since then, but there was an easing trend.


"I think the Wellington winds are picking up at the moment," she said shortly after 8am when it was gusting up to 120kmh at Kelburn. Overnight the Rimutaka summit had gusts up to 115kmh.

"We're expecting severe northwest gales in Wellington and Wairarapa today," she said.

"The gradient is tightening a bit over the Wairarapa." There was a warning for strong winds in the region, particularly during Saturday evening when gusts could get up to 140kmh.

A slow moving front over the middle of the North Island was bringing rain to the central North Island, with heavier falls expected.

"There is going to be a lot of rain over the North Island tomorrow," van Laanen said.

A front over the South Island was expected to catch up with one over the North Island. That was expected to bring heavy rain to much of the North Island tomorrow morning, easing in the afternoon.

MetService is warning that heavy rain is expected in Westland south of Otira and in the headwaters of the Otago and Canterbury lakes and rivers, from Arthur's Pass south, through to later today.

Heavy rain is expected through to tomorrow morning for Taranaki and the Tararua Range.

Rain could also become heavy in the Buller Ranges, Marlborough Sounds and the hills of Wellington and the Kapiti Coast from this afternoon until early tomorrow. Sustained heavy rain was possible tomorrow for Tongariro National Park and the hill country between Lake Taupo and Taranaki.

Strong winds could also get to severe gale strength in Taranaki, Taihape, Whanganui and Hawke's Bay today or early tomorrow.

Tomorrow severe gales were likely in Marlborough, Wellington, Wairarapa and much of Hawke's Bay. Snow was likely to low levels in the south of the South Island tomorrow.