Howling winds lash Hawke's Bay


Powerful Labour Day winds wreaked havoc throughout the Bay yesterday - with a record gust at Cape Kidnappers blowing two kayakers out to sea.

Emergency services were put on alert mid-morning when the two kayakers in distress sparked half a dozen members of the neighbouring Clifton Marine Club readying boats in anticipation of a rescue.

Metservice confirmed the highest gust of the day was clocked at 110km/h at Cape Kidnappers, where the "foolish" pair eventually managed to make their way back to shore.

Clifton Marine Club member Ian Chapman estimated one of the men was blown down shore about 5km south of the Clifton Campground. The kayaker told Mr Chapman his friend was still out at sea, after which the club members assembled and emergency services were notified.

The second kayaker later made it back to shore between Te Awanga and Clifton.

"The wind just took them away," Mr Chapman said. "They shouldn't have been out there at all, it was a very, very, foolish move on their part. It was quite a scary thing for us, because we're very conscious of this sort of thing happening out this way."

Coastguard Hawke's Bay duty skipper Glenn McAdam confirmed he had received a call out.

"We were stood down by police saying that they had picked them up and they were on shore," he said. "You wouldn't think anybody would be going out in this, but obviously they did.

"It's been pretty good because most people have been watching the weather forecast. I guess most of them are being sensible."

In another wind-related incident, a young Hastings mother loading groceries into her car had her shopping trolley blown over with her 2-year-old daughter restrained inside.

The woman, who did not wish to be identified, said her daughter received grazes to her back, but wasn't badly hurt.

Metservice forecaster Nic Bonnette said yesterday's gusts reached over 100kmph at various points between Cape Kidnappers and Mahia.

"In the main spots [they] lasted for five or 10 minutes at least. We had up to gale in those two areas - Cape Kidnappers and Mahia - and we had strong winds over much of the rest of the area," she said.

The winds were expected to die down last night, with a southerly change due today and some isolated showers.

Improved weather was expected tomorrow with a fine day and northwesterlies developing after a frosty start to the morning.

Hawke's Bay-based Federated Farmers president Bruce Wills farmers would have their "fingers crossed" for some more rain soon to prevent the region drying out.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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