29 May 2024

Weather: Gale strength winds to continue in Auckland

10:21 pm on 29 May 2024
A tree fallen over in Rotoorangi in Waikato during a storm on 29 May, 2024.

A tree fallen over in Rotoorangi in Waikato during a storm on 29 May, 2024. Photo: Supplied

Some parts of Auckland recorded gusts of up to 120km/h, and more is expected overnight.

Until early Thursday morning there are strong wind warnings for Auckland and Great Barrier Island, and strong wind watches for Northland, Coromandel, Waikato, Te Awamutu and Matamata.

Winds are expected to approach severe gales in exposed places.

On Thursday," showers, some heavy with squally thunderstorms and hail" are expected to ease by the evening in areas north of Taranaki.

Showers and snow at the top of the Desert Road are forecast to clear to fine from early Thursday from Whanganui to Kapiti and central high country. The east of the North Island can expect clearing showers on Thursday.

Most of the South Island is expected to be fine apart from some scattered showers in western areas.

By Friday, the North Island is expected to be mainly fine, as is the South Island. Both have rain expected in the west, heavy in some places.

A line of severe thunderstorms crossed Auckland and hit Great Barrier Island on Wednesday.

There were pockets of extreme wind and power outages largely in the region's northwest areas.

Winds had reached 105km/h with a few gusts of up to 120km/h recorded in west Auckland and the Hauraki Gulf.

Some more 120km/h winds are predicted for Auckland and Great Barrier Island on Wednesday night.

Several parts of Auckland had also seen hail.

Air New Zealand was been examining three aircraft struck by lightning.

High winds also closed down operations at Auckland Airport for a time.

Power outages

Power was out to large parts of Auckland, including Henderson Valley, Waitākere, Bethells Beach, Helensville, Parakai, Kumeū, Dairy Flat, Kaukapakapa, Waiheke, Whangaparāoa, and Ellerslie.

Vector said strong gales across the Auckland region were blowing trees and vegetation onto lines and causing damage and network faults.

A Vector spokesperson said gusts peaked at 144km/h near Manukau Heads between 5pm and 6pm.

"Outages are spread around the region. Crews will continue to work and rotate through the night, but will stand down if it is unsafe for them. We have as many crews working on this as possible, including extras we've temporarily redeployed from planned capital works."

It said it could not provide exact numbers of homes without power as it was constantly changing.

Strong winds hit part of the North Island on 29 May 2024.

Strong winds hit part of the North Island on 29 May 2024. Photo: MetService

In Hamilton, 15,000 homes were without power for a while.

The good news was the winds would ease overnight and the weather would be pleasant for the long weekend.

Fire and Emergency crews attended dozens of callouts about fallen trees and power lines.

Snow closes Desert Rd

State Highway 1 Desert Road is closed between the Rangipo and Waiouru gates.

Motorists are advised to take the western route around Tongariro National park.

Northbound motorists need to detour via SH49, SH4, SH47, SH46 and then turn left to get back onto SH1 with the opposite applying for those heading south.

MetService lifted a snowfall warning for Desert Rd later in the evening,