Wind and rain make it a rough weekend

By Sandra Conchie

A large front moving across the North Island brought heavy rain and up to 50km/h wind gusts to the Bay yesterday but caused little damage.

The Met Service issued a severe weather warning on Saturday, which remained in force for the Bay of Plenty last night.

While there were no reports of flood damage, the stormed caused power cuts to some parts of Kairua, Papamoa, Papamoa Beach and Te Puke for about two hours.

Tauranga Coastguard reported at least 2.5m waves were recorded at A Beacon and at 2pm Tauranga experienced wind gusts of 50km/h. Several kitesurfers took advantage of the strong winds.

Met Service forecaster Philippa Murdoch said Tauranga had received 25mm of rain in the 24 hours to last night.

She said the most of the heavy rain band was starting to clear in Tauranga as it crossed the Bay of Plenty heading east although a few showers were expected overnight and this morning.

Ms Murdoch said Tauranga's 50km/h wind gusts were a "little bit high" but did not compare with the 80km/h gusts Whakatane was experiencing at 6.30pm last night.

Tauranga's temperature today is expected to reach 17C, dropping to 11C overnight, More showers are forecast for Tauranga tomorrow, clearing by the afternoon.

The Met Service is urging people to stay up to date with the latest forecasts and weather warnings, as rivers and streams can rise very quickly, and surface flooding and slips can suddenly occur.

Meanwhile, Grant Dyson, spokesman for Braemar Howells, said with 30-knot winds and 3m swells at Astrolabe Reef it was far too dangerous for the Rena salvors to continue with their salvage work, which was suspended around lunchtime on Saturday due to the bad weather.

Mr Dyson said weather permitting the Tasman Challenger, Braemar/Unimar teams' new vessel, would unload the scrap it had recovered from the surrounding seabed as the Rena's bow section is cut away this morning.

He said it was not aware of the swell and wind causing any sudden changes to the Rena but the salvors were continuing to maintain a watch on the wrecked container ship.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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