Gales, heavy rain hit

STACEY KIRK
Last updated 13:29 05/12/2012

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Windows have blown out and powerlines have come down as heavy wind and rain hits the lower North Island.

MetService said a broad trough over the Tasman Sea was expected to cross over New Zealand today, bringing with it a number of cold fronts and rain for much of the country.

Gale force winds had been expected to hit Marlborough, Wellington and Wairarapa south of Eketahuna today and severe gale gusts of 120kmh were possible.

Firefighters were called to help secure lifting roofing iron on the Fraser Park grandstand on Percy Camerson St, Lower Hutt about 10.50am.

Taita Dr was closed for a short time after a tree fell bringing down powerlines about 11.05am, the spokesman said.

A tree had also fallen down in Awarua St, Ngaio about 11.45am and a window had blown out on a building on Ohiro Rd, Brooklyn about midday, he said.

"Anyone caught out in that would have been running for cover."

Strong winds also buffeted the city with a wind gust  of 117kmh recorded on Rimutaka Hill, 72kmh in Kelburn, 91kmh at the airport and 89kmh at Aotea Quay.

The central west areas of the North Island and northwest parts of the South Island were expected to be hit the hardest by the bad weather.

Westland, Buller and Nelson would get the heaviest rainfall, with Tararua, Mt Taranaki and Tongariro National Park not far behind.

MetService was warning streams and rivers in all those areas could rise quickly and surface flooding and slips were possible.

Forecaster Daniel Corbett said weather would be "unsettled" for the next two or three days but should peak by the weekend.

"The wind and the rain will slowly pass today. There's another little blast that comes through tomorrow and then we should be picking up by Friday and hopefully peaking by the weekend," he said.

Temperatures may drop slightly over the next few days, as northerly winds change to southerlies, but they should rise again by Saturday.

"A lot of this weather should be long gone by then," Corbett said.

Duty forecaster Philipa Murdoch said it would pay to keep an eye on weather warnings to check any damage on the roads.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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