Deep low bringing gales for North Island, warnings issued


A deep low over the Tasman Sea is bringing gale-force winds to the North Island today and heavy rain to parts of the country.

Auckland’s Harbour Bridge was briefly closed to traffic both ways this afternoon, with drivers asked to detour via the Western Ring Route.

Waka Kotahi tweeted about 10 minutes later: “The bridge has now RE-OPENED”.

“Lane closures and temporary speed restrictions remain in place. Motorcycles and high-sided vehicles are advised to use the Western Ring Route at this time.”

MetService has issued strong wind watches for large parts of the North Island, with gusts expected to reach 120km/h in some places.

“Heads-up Tāmaki Makaurau!” MetService tweeted yesterday. “A WIND WATCH is in force for westerly gales on Saturday. Expect gusts commonly 90-100 km/hr, with isolated 110 km/hr.”

The impact is expected to be greatest for the already cyclone-damaged western areas of Auckland: Muriwai, Piha, Karekare and Āwhitu Peninsula. Widespread impacts on the city from accompanying heavy rain are unlikely, MetService said.

Auckland’s strong wind watch is in place from 9am today until 6am tomorrow.

Waka Kotahi previously warned that a “red” complete lane closure alert on Auckland’s Harbour Bridge is “likely” due to the strong winds forecast for this weekend.

Waikato and Waitomo, Gisborne, Bay of Plenty, Taumarunui, Taupō, Taihape, Whanganui and Manawatū, Taranaki, Northland and the Coromandel Peninsula are all also under strong wind watches from today until early tomorrow.

Hawke’s Bay is under an orange strong wind warning from 6pm today until 4am tomorrow.

“Strong wind gusts could damage trees, powerlines and unsecured structures. Driving may be hazardous, especially for high-sided vehicles and motorcycles,” MetService said.

Heavy rain watches have been issued for Mount Taranaki from 9am until 11pm today, as well as Bay of Plenty east of Whakatāne and Tongariro National Park, both for the period between 9am today and 6am tomorrow.

Tasman west of Motueka is under an orange heavy rain warning from 9am until 3pm today, with thunderstorms possible.

It comes as a National Advisory was cancelled yesterday after a 7.7 magnitude earthquake Southeast of Loyalty Islands caused concern for New Zealand’s coastal areas.

MetService advises people keep up-to-date with the latest watches and warnings. They have also said gales could potentially cause power cuts in Northland, Auckland and Waikato where winds could lead to fallen trees.

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