MetService forecasters are predicting a significant westerly wind event that could cause widespread blackouts across New Zealand this weekend. Windy conditions are expected to affect the South Island and the southern half of the North Island. According to meteorologist Andrew James, the South Island will be the first to experience the impacts, with warnings coming into effect from Saturday afternoon. The lower North Island, including Wellington, will remain under a warning on Sunday morning.
As spring is traditionally the windiest season in New Zealand, this strong westerly wind pattern is unusual for this time of year. However, such conditions have been seen for a couple of years. The MetService has already issued severe weather alerts and warnings, urging people to stay alert and informed.
The potential disruptions caused by these strong winds are significant. Drivers of trucks, caravans, trailers and motorcycles are advised to use caution and consider delaying their journeys if possible. Wind gusts have the potential to damage trees, power lines and unprotected structures. Road closures may be required to ensure public safety.
As of Saturday night, parts of the South Island had already met wind warning criteria, with Wellington also experiencing strong winds. Wind gusts of up to 120 km/h hit the Canterbury Highlands, with strong winds also expected in other areas. However, forecasters expect the winds to pick up further on Sunday.
In addition to strong winds, a heavy rain warning has been issued for the western South Island where up to 200mm of rainfall is expected. These heavy rains can cause flash flooding in streams and rivers, as well as surface flooding and landslides. Drivers are urged to exercise caution and be aware of dangerous driving conditions.
Overall, New Zealand faces a weekend of turbulent weather, with strong westerly winds and heavy rain forecast. It is important for residents to stay informed, follow the warnings or advice of authorities and take the necessary precautions to ensure their safety.
– MetService: National Meteorological Service of New Zealand.
– Wairarapa: An area in the south of the North Island of New Zealand.
– Canterbury Highlands: An area in the South Island of New Zealand.
– Wellington: Capital of New Zealand.
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