8 Sep 2012

More heavy rain predicted but gales easing

9:28 pm on 8 September 2012

The Metservice is predicting further bursts of heavy rain and thunderstorms over the country, although less intense than many places have endured during Saturday.

The South Island's West Coast and Southern Alps region, as well as central and western parts of the North Island, especially the Tararua Range and Mount Taranaki areas can expect further heavy rain up to Sunday evening.

People in all these areas are advised to look out for rapidly rising rivers and streams, and possible localised surface flooding and slips.

However, the severe northwest gales in Canterbury, Marlborough, Wellington and Wairarapa have now eased.

Thousands of Wellington households are once again reconnected after being without power for many hours on Saturday because severe gales brought down trees on powerlines.

The Rimutaka Hill Road (State Highway 2) between Wellington and Wairarapa re-opened about 6 o'clock after being closed for much of Saturday afternoon due to high winds.

Winds had brought down trees and disrupted flights in the Wellington region.

Gusts of 141 km/h were recorded at Mt Kaukau in Wellington and wind speeds were averaging 111 km/h.

Sections of roofs lifted in the central city and the Lower Hutt suburb of Wainuiomata and strips of corrugated roofing iron were ripped from the Shed 6 building on the Wellington waterfront.

Fire crews attended about 80 callouts in southern suburbs, including Kilbirnie, Island Bay and Seatoun, the central city and Wainuiomata in Lower Hutt.