Severe gales set to buffet South again

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images
After wreaking havoc last week, severe gales are set to return to the southern region for the start of the working week.

A MetService spokesman said a ridge of high pressure was expected to cover much of the country on Sunday and Monday, bringing a reprieve to the recent windy weather.

But a front, preceded by strengthening northwesterlies, was expected to approach New Zealand from the Tasman Sea on Tuesday, and move east across the country on Wednesday.

The front was expected to bring a period of heavy rain to western parts of the South Island, and clear skies and warm gale northwesterlies to the east, he said.

‘‘On Tuesday and Wednesday, there is a high confidence of rainfall accumulations approaching warning amounts in Fiordland and Westland.

‘‘Also on Tuesday and Wednesday, there is a moderate confidence of northwest gales becoming severe in exposed parts of Southland, Otago and inland Canterbury.’’

He said severe gales may gust to 120kmh and it was possible they could damage trees, powerlines and unsecured structures.

Driving might also be hazardous, especially for high-sided vehicles and motorcycles.

‘‘People are advised to stay up to date with the latest forecasts in case part of this watch is upgraded to a warning or further areas are added.’’

Temperatures were forecast to rise gradually over the next few days, to a high of about 19degC on Tuesday, he said.

However, he advised residents to make the most of the warm windy weather because rain and cooler temperatures were forecast for much of the region in the second half of the week.

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