'Kaimai Buster' blows over school bus

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Violent winds blew over a school bus travelling beneath the Kaimai Range , causing minor injuries to one of two children on board and the driver.

The road was subsequently closed due to Friday's extreme weather phenomenon known locally as the "Kaimai Buster".

Matamata Piako District Council has closed Te Aroha-Gordon Rd and Old Te Aroha Rd to heavy traffic and motorcycles until further notice due to severe weather conditions.

Other vehicles should avoid this route where possible, and take extreme care, the council said.

The aerodynamic effect of the Kaimai Range turns strong easterlies into gales a person would struggle to remain upright in, Sergeant Graham McGurk, of the Matamata police, said.

The 52-seater bus was shunted over and off the road while driving to school along Old Te Aroha Rd, he said.

"While one of the children and the bus driver were being treated, the ambulance nearly got blown over, just standing there. The wheels started coming off the ground so we had to move it."

It's the first buster of the year.

McGurk said the winds can cause huge amounts of damage, knocking over trees and toppling barns.

"They are unique to our area - it's amazing. I understand there was another vehicle crash where a car got blown off the road shortly afterwards in the Te Aroha area," he said.

"A huge low pressure runs under the range during strong easterly winds and it just rushes down.

"You get about a kilometre-wide area that receives very strong winds, but in Matamata there wasn't a breath of wind."

The Kaimai Buster is a freak weather event. It is hard to predict when or where it will strike, McGurk said.




Did you witness the Kamai Buster or take any photographs? Email news@waikatotimes.co.nz