21 Jun 2021

Wellington wind warning: Two Cook Strait ferry crossings cancelled

9:38 pm on 21 June 2021

Two Wairarapa towns are being told to limit water use after heavy rain.

Waihenga River bridge closed after rising river levels from heavy rain.

The Waihenga River bridge on State Highway 53 is closed because of rising river levels Photo: NZTA / Adam Stodart

A heavy rain warning remains in place for Gisborne south of Muriwai and the hills of the Wairoa District, but has been lifted for Wairarapa and Kaikōura coast and ranges as the downpours eased.

In the Gisborne District, another 70 to 90 millimetres of rain is forecast to fall through to tomorrow morning, south of Muriwai and the hills of the Wairoa District.

And a further 40 millimetres is expected to hit the areas already affected by flooding.

The Gisborne Regional Civil Defence Group Controller, David Wilson, said teams are monitoring river levels overnight, but it's all about where it lands.

He said if the situation changes quickly, Civil Defence alerts will be sent out.

Bores that supply Featherston and Greytown have high levels of cloudy water because of the heavy rainfall and high river levels.

Wellington Water said with that water not available, reservoirs supplying the area had dropped to low levels.

It said local water treatment plants also needed to time to recover and the community could help out by limiting water use.

Hutt City Council spokesperson Colin Lunn said there were slips on Coast Road, which heads out to the Remutaka Forest Park, and along Eastbourne's Marine Drive.

Contractors were also clearing out flooded areas, he said.

Fire and Emergency said it had one report of a flying trampoline in Paraparaumu, but no callouts for trees or powerlines downed today.

In Wairarapa, the Waihenga bridge on State Highway 53 was closed because of rising river levels, with motorists advised to take alternative routes.

There was also flooding and debris on roads around South Wairarapa and motorists were warned to check conditions before travelling.

The Remutaka Hill Road remained open, but high-sided vehicles were urged to take care.

Wellington wind warning

Earlier, MetService said south-to-southeast severe gales in Wellington could reach 120km/h in exposed places.

The severe wind warning lifted on Monday evening as winds were expected to ease overnight.

18072016 Photo: Rebekah Parsons-King. A truck trailer unit has rolled overboard into the sea from a Bluebridge ferry near Wellington Heads.

Bluebridge says passengers should get in touch for a refund or a transfer to the next available sailing. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Niwa recorded winds of up to 140km/h at Baring Head, between Wellington Harbour and Palliser Bay, early this morning.

The 1.30pm Bluebridge ferry sailing from Wellington, and a 2pm Bluebridge sailing from Picton were also cancelled as a result of the weather.

Bluebridge said passengers should get in touch for a refund or a transfer to the next available sailing.

One Interislander ferry recorded winds of up to 160km/h were recorded on a Cook Strait sailing this afternoon.

Its general manager, Walter Rushbrook, said swells in the Cook Strait were between 3m and 3.5m, but winds were the biggest obstacle.

An Interislander sailing that was due to dock in Wellington at 7pm was delayed by an hour due to the weather.

Rushbrook said heavy swells were forecast up until Wednesday but at this stage other Interislander sailings should be unaffected.

Authorities said the southerly winds were on the cusp of what the capital could comfortably handle.

Wellington Region Emergency Management Office spokesperson Jeremy Holmes said the windy capital was accustomed to handling such weather.

"Wellington is used to significant winds - other parts of the country do certainly feel the impacts at lower wind levels. So generally 120km/h is when we really start expecting damage, apart from odd branches, so that's what we're expecting through to nine o'clock today."

Holmes said there had been no reports of major damage in the Wellington region so far.

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