Services busy as gales down trees and power lines

Strong northeasterlies yesterday blew down a large limb from a tree at the Gardens Ground in...
Strong northeasterlies yesterday blew down a large limb from a tree at the Gardens Ground in North Dunedin. Photo: Gerard O'Brien
Winds are expected to ease today after strong northeast gusts downed power lines and trees and damaged roofs across Dunedin.

MetService meteorologist Andrew James said Fiordland, Otago and Southland were all on strong wind watches yesterday.

At Swampy Summit, north of Dunedin, the highest mean speed yesterday was 78kmh and the strongest gust was measured at 104kmh.

Yesterday’s northeasterly gales preceded a front arriving from the west, Mr James said.

"Essentially, there’s a mass of air pushing up on the western side of New Zealand on the South Island and that builds up a large pressure gradient across the island. The air has got to go somewhere and that turns into strong winds for Dunedin."

It was windy in general along the coast, he said.

Those winds should ease by this morning.

Fire and Emergency NZ shift manager Ian Littlejohn said a St Kilda crew was called to Shore St, Musselburgh, at 10.30am after a tree fell on power lines.

The crew cleared the tree and waited for Delta to arrive.

At 12.30pm, St Kilda crews were called to Highcliff Rd, near Waverley, where lines had fallen on properties.

They secured the scene and investigated a small roof fire as a result of the lines, but did not need to take action.

An Aurora Energy spokesman said some customers in Andersons Bay and Waverley were left without power for a time.Maintenance crews restored power by 7pm.

At 1.30pm, St Kilda crews attended an incident in Chisholm Pl, Tainui, where power or phone lines fell in front of a residential driveway.

Delta was notified.

At 5.40pm, Lookout Point crews were called to Ravensbourne Rd, where telephone lines had fallen in a gutter.

Across the city, parts of trees were blown on to the streets.

Yesterday’s conditions also prevented  container vessel Laust Maersk from entering Otago Harbour.

The ship had been due to dock at Port Chalmers at 2pm, but the high winds, combined with a large swell, meant it had to wait outside the harbour entrance for conditions to ease, Port Otago chief executive Kevin Winders said.

It was hoped the vessel would be able to dock about 6am today.

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