1 Dec 2020

Strong winds, heavy rain causing havoc in Wellington

11:47 am on 1 December 2020

Wild weather in the Wellington region brought down trees, delayed flights and prompted warnings for drivers.

Heavy rain in Wellington.

Heavy rain in Wellington. Photo: MetService

Callouts about heavy rain overnight shifted to problems with high winds early morning.

Trees were down in Johnsonville and Maupuia, and there was a slip in Northland.

The Paekakariki Hill Road to the Kapiti Coast was closed after strong wind brought down a tree on the road.

MetService said southerly gusts of 104 km/h were recorded in the suburb of Kelburn overnight, other high suburbs experienced wind gusts of around 90 km/h, while on Mt Kaukau the winds hit 146 km/h.

Wellington City Council spokesperson Richard MacLean urged care on the roads.

"Just take care if you're driving or riding a motorcycle or a bike - you may go round a tight corner on one of our twisty roads and end up with a bit of tree on the road in front of you or some rocks down."

A landslip in in Whitby, Porirua, last night damaged two properties on Moonsail Drive. The council said residents were safely evacuated by Fire and Emergency from one, and the other was unoccupied.

A neighbour told RNZ the occupants of the worst hit of the two properties had left just the day before, and that clay and dirt from the slip had come close to the house.

The Wellington region had heavy falls of rain overnight with the Lower Hutt suburb of Wainuiomata recording 69.8mm of rain in the 13 hours to 7am, MetService said.

It is the second major dump of rain after torrential downpours on Sunday led to flash flooding in Plimmerton, leaving 15 houses uninhabitable.

The strong wind caused delays to some flights in and out of the capital and ferry sailings across Wellington harbour were cancelled.

The 7.30am Interislander ferry from Picton to Wellington was cancelled, after the 2am sailing from Wellington was called off. The next boat was leaving Picton at 11am.

MetService has a strong wind warning in place for Wellington and the Kapiti Coast north of Otaki, as well as the Marlborough Sounds and the coast north of Cape Campbell.

The forecaster said northwesterlies are expected to rise to gale in exposed places on Wednesday evening and it may issue a warning nearer the time.

In Bay of Plenty, meanwhile, a heavy rain warning remained in place for the Wairoa district with falls of up to 15mm an hour forecast.