Severe gusts for region

By Amy Shanks, Christine McKay

While the first official day of summer is expected to hit 21C today, there is nothing tropical about severe winds set to sweep the region this weekend.

The MetService warned gusts could reach up to 140km/h in exposed areas tomorrow, with severe gales possible south of Hastings. "West to northwest winds are coming up the North Island and will be blowing strong by Saturday night. They will reach gale force in exposed places, strengthening on Sunday," MetService forecaster Philippa Murdoch said. "It will peak on Sunday morning."

Winds of that strength had the potential to damage trees, powerlines and unsecured structures. Drivers were urged to take caution on the open road.

Meanwhile a cold snap yesterday had Dannevirke residents shaking their heads and wondering if they were in for a white Christmas, after plummeting temperatures left snow low on the Ruahine Range.

Deceived by sweltering heat on Thursday, with recordings ranging from 18C to 21C, the cold southwesterly which dumped white powder on the lower Ruahine Ranges behind Dannevirke made for a chilly day yesterday.

Fortunately the low moved on last night and Hawke's Bay people could look forward to higher temperatures across the board.

"Despite the wind, temperatures, compared to the last couple of days, will be a little bit warmer, starting with 21 [today] and reaching the mid-20s [tomorrow]."

Two different systems accounted for the changes - the cold-air system had moved out last night.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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