More strong winds on the way

Jarrad Kennedy, of the Malcam Charitable Trust, clears leaves from paths following strong gales...
Jarrad Kennedy, of the Malcam Charitable Trust, clears leaves from paths following strong gales in Dunedin on Sunday. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Southern residents are being urged to tie down anything that came loose at the weekend, as another round of even stronger gales is set to hit the region.

Wind reached a mean speed of 78kmh and gusted up to 104kmh in exposed parts of Dunedin on Sunday, but MetService meteorologist April Clark has warned worse is to come for other parts of Otago and Southland.

Another active front moved on to the far south overnight and a tight low is expected to move eastwards just south of the South Island today.

The ``strong, disturbed west-to-northwest flow'' was expected to bring rain which may reach warning levels in Fiordland today, tomorrow and Friday.

There is also moderate confidence of west-to-northwest gales becoming severe today in exposed parts of Central Otago, the Otago Lakes, Clutha, Southland and Fiordland.

This is also the case on Thursday and Friday, as westerlies strengthen across the Southern Ocean.

The winds on Sunday were northeasterlies, but Ms Clark said the winds during the next couple of days would be northwesterlies bringing potentially stronger mean speeds and gusts.

``When you get a northwesterly, those winds have to come right across the Southern Alps, so they do come in a lot more gusty, more intermittent.

``There is a potential that if you are in exposed places, you could get stronger winds than what was reported on Sunday.''

She said mean speeds could reach 90kmh and gust to well over 100kmh.

``When you get strong winds, they can gust up to 50% higher than the mean speed.''

The good news was, because it was a northwesterly, it was less likely to affect Dunedin, she said.

She recommended inland residents tie down anything that was loosened by the weekend's strong winds, as well as larger objects like trampolines.

``Those inland areas, just be ready.

``People need to think about whether they need to take any action so that they don't have to run around after flying items.''

She recommended residents be wary of flying objects and debris on roads for the next few days.

Botanic Garden team leader Alan Matchett said garden staff were busy cleaning up debris from Sunday's strong winds.

Two large trees would be cut down over the coming days, including a large elm tree which was threatening to fall on a children's playground.

``One of the buttress roots which support the tree has split away from the main trunk of the tree.

``It will be removed. We'll remove the canopy for a start to minimise the possibility that it will fall over in the next winds.''

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

 

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