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Spring to be ruffled by strong winds

NICOLE MATHEWSON
Last updated 11:38 03/09/2014

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Canterbury is in store for a typical spring, prompting warnings about the risk of strong winds after a storm last year cut power to almost 30,000 homes and downed thousands of trees. 

Niwa's latest seasonal outlook, released yesterday, stated springtime temperatures and rainfall volumes in Canterbury were ''most likely'' to be similar to previous years. 

Cold snaps and frosts could still be expected in some places as spring arrived, but Canterbury was not expected to get anything out of the ordinary, the report said.

Niwa issued a similar forecast for the West Coast, but the top of the South Island - around Nelson, Marlborough and Buller - could be slightly warmer than average. 

The start of spring came with a warning about the risk of strong northwesterly winds.

The Selwyn District Council said strong winds were especially common during spring and residents should make sure they were prepared for any storms. 

Canterbury was hit by its worst wind storm in about 40 years last September, with winds of more than 150kmh downing thousands of trees and cutting power to 28,000 homes across Selwyn and Christchurch.  

The power outages lasted more a week in some places and damage from the winds cost insurers $74.5 million.

Emergency management officer Ryan O'Rourke said people should check weather forecasts regularly and prepare for any upcoming storms by bringing anything that could be picked up by the wind into a garage, shed or indoors.

Orion energy projects manager Stephen Godfrey said power outages were common during and after high winds, so residents should make sure they had plenty of bottled water, non-perishable food, torches and batteries, a first-aid kid and other supplies on hand.  

Property owners should also make sure they trimmed any trees near power lines, he said.

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- The Press

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