Gales disrupt port and planes

Winds gusting up to gale force caused delays to traffic in and out of Port Otago and Dunedin airport yesterday - and there is expected to be no let-up today.

The conditions were expected to continue today, with northwest winds expected to rise to gale force in many parts of Southland and Otago this morning, and the possibility of severe gales in exposed places, a MetService warning said.

It was expected to turn southwest and ease during this afternoon and evening.

Yesterday, Dunedin city experienced winds of up to 50kmh and gusts of up to 70kmh, while at the airport there were winds of up to 55kmh and gusts of 90kmh, MetService forecaster Nic Bonnette said.

Taiaroa Head experienced severe gales of up to 95kmh and gusts of up to 125kmh late morning.

Port Otago marine service manager Hugh Marshall said November had been the worst month on record in terms of wind causing delays to shipping movements.

Yesterday, one ship's arrival and three departures were delayed by winds which caused navigational safety issues, he said.

The delays caused significant disruption to the running of the port.

All Air New Zealand flights were affected by wind, with most inbound flights from the north delayed about 15 minutes, a spokesman said.

Ms Bonnette said while winds were strong about Dunedin's coast, they were increasingly less gusty further inland.

The New Zealand Transport agency issued warnings cautioning owners of campervans and other high-sided vehicles to take care on SH1 from Allanton to Waipahi, SH90 between Raes Junction and McNab, SH87 from Outram to Kyeburn, SH85 between Palmerston and Kyeburn and SH1 from Oamaru to Palmerston.

These would remain until further notice.


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