Weekend’s high winds cause damage around province

Gale-force winds caused havoc around Southland over the weekend, with reports of damaged buildings.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand was called to St Patrick’s School in Georgetown about noon on Saturday when the roof of the school hall became unstable.

Principal Callan Goodall said the damage to the roof was not visible from the exterior, but it had started to lift after the perlins and trusses began to separate.

"The fire brigade came, and between them and Henderson Construction, were able to sort it out relatively painlessly.

"The fire brigade were great, as they always are."

He was grateful Henderson Construction was able to temporarily secure the roof on Saturday.

"We will have some repairs to do further down the track, but it’s all very secure for now."

No iron had lifted off the roof and the hall was still safe to be used by pupils, Mr Goodall said.

A window at the Southland Express and Otago Daily Times office at The Crescent in Invercargill was blown in for the second time in the past month.

New Zealand MetService meteorologist Peter Little said as well as Centre Island and the South West Cape, Invercargill had borne the brunt of the gale-force winds with a peak gust of 96kmh recorded at Invercargill Airport at 9am on Saturday, and an average wind speed of 70kmh throughout the day.

Centre Island and the South West Cape weather stations recorded a top wind speed of 142kmh and 122kmh respectively. A median wind speed of 65kmh or more is classed as gale force.

Invercargill received 35mm of rain during the weekend, with Edendale recording 53.5mm, while Lumsden and Birchwood recorded 5.6 and 9.6mm respectively.

Mr Little said even though the drought over the province had now broken, it was still showing a lower-than-average rainfall for the month.

Southland residents could expect to see more rough weather until the latter part of the week when the service expected the wind and rain to make way for still days, clear skies and frosts.

- By Toni McDonald


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