Swells, snow flurries and sleet are expected in Wellington and the lower North Island as night falls.
Residents living along Wellington’s south coast have been told to tie down trampolines and not to put out their recycling bins overnight as conditions worsen in the area.
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On Wednesday afternoon, Wellington City Council spokesman Richard MacLean said “it’s still quiet – we’re just telling people in the southern suburbs not to put recycling bins out overnight if possible, lest they turn in to messy missiles”.
“The high winds could potentially bring down trees during the day in various parts of the city and region.”
Waves up to 5 metres are expected to pound Wellington with winds up to 110kmh expected from Wednesday afternoon.
The Hutt City Council warned weather and tides were causing a large southerly swell around the Eastern Bays.
“We have Intergroup (our contractor) on-site keeping the roads open, until the tide starts falling.”
Council head of infrastructure contracts John Middleton said he’d be on duty until 2am – the next big tide was due overnight.
Currently the swell’s impact in Eastbourne was “not too bad at all”, he said.
“The tide is going out, there’s just a little bit of wave break on the road, and minor debris.”
The New Zealand Transport Agency said snow flurries had been reported on Remutaka Hill.
“Contractors are en route to monitor the road and weather conditions. “Please drive to the conditions and allow greater following distances,” the agency said.
MetService’s statement says from Wednesday evening to early Thursday morning, the rain may turn to snow or sleet at times near the top of Remutaka Hill – but little if any snow was expected to accumulate.
A snowfall warning has also been issued for the Desert Road from Wednesday at 3pm to 1pm on Thursday – 20cm to 25cm of snow could accumulate above 800m, with lesser amounts to 500m, MetService said.
For the Napier-Taupō road, rain during Thursday may turn to snow or sleet at times near the top of the road, but was not expected to accumulate.
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Wellington’s South Coast is preparing for big waves that are forecast and are hoping they don’t cause as much chaos as a recent big wave event.
MetService is forecasting southerly gusts up to 110kmh in Wellington.
Some Cook Strait Interislander ferries have been cancelled for the day as a precaution.
MetService details the forecast for the first week of July.
MetService lead meteorologist Kyle Lee said on Wednesday morning that so far the winds were slightly increasing but would obviously increase in the evening.
“The airport has had maximum gusts up to 85kmh in the last few hours,” Lee said.
“In terms of the swell, these are also expected to increase this evening and peaking overnight tonight with combined waves as high as 5.5 or even 6.5 metres expected along the south coast.
“Currently, the swell is around 2.1 metres.”
Forecaster Aidan Pyselman said the waves were expected to be of a similar height – up to 5m – to those that recently caused destruction on Wellington’s South Coast.
However, it was hard to say if similar problems would occur this time around, he said.
Some Interislander services were cancelled on Wednesday and Thursday.
These were the 4pm Wednesday from Wellington to Picton; the 8.45pm return from Picton; the 8.30pm from Wellington, then 2.30am return from Picton; and the 6.30pm Wednesday from Picton, and 2am return sailing from Wellington.