Brace yourselves - more gales on way

By Victoria White

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Pruners at a vineyard on Korokipo Rd, Napier, wrap up warm against yesterday's chilly weather. Photo / Duncan Brown
Pruners at a vineyard on Korokipo Rd, Napier, wrap up warm against yesterday's chilly weather. Photo / Duncan Brown

Hawke's Bay residents are advised to hold on to their hats, as another gusty week is expected - the latest in an eventful winter.

Gales of up to 120km/h were experienced in parts of Hawke's Bay and Tararua District last week, after rain drenched the region in June following months of warm, dry weather and a delayed start to winter.

A severe weather watch has been issued by MetService for today as westerly gales over the central North Island become severe from this afternoon - strengthening and rising to gale gusting 100 km/h in exposed places.

Strong winds are forecast for the rest of the week, with some rising to gales around the coast, or in exposed places.

Yesterday gusts reached 60km/h in exposed places, with some at 90km/h around higher altitudes such as the Ruahine Ranges.

MetService meteorologist Kyle Lee said the fronts which had brought wind to Hawke's Bay seemed to be following the same pattern, and were part of more active weather systems.

After a delayed start to winter, Mr Lee said there had not been the usual number of storms, or windy days for this time of year, but more "active weather" was expected during the remaining weeks of winter.

Federated Farmers provincial president Will Foley said strong winds would not concern farmers too much, unless it dried out soil more.

While the rain last month had been welcomed, because it brought colder temperatures there had not been "huge responses to pasture growth".

"Farmers are still on the look-out for more rain to ensure a good spring ... it gives a bit of security around springtime with growth," he said, "but for now farmers are just going to have to measure the feed out and be in winter mode and just hope they can get through to springtime."

Hawke's Bay Fruitgrowers Association president Lesley Wilson said the strong winds were not having any effect now, but if they continued into blossom time it could affect pollination.

"We are loving the cooler temperatures, or winter chilling [as it] helps set the buds up for spring," she said.

These weather systems were also not plaguing the viticulture industry.

Hawke's Bay Winegrowers Association deputy chair Xan Harding said as winegrowers built trellises in summer, any wind howling through the region should not affect them.

While the delayed winter had not affected the end of the growing season, Mr Harding said he hoped there would not also be an early spring.

If there was warmer weather in August the season could start earlier, which also meant winegrowers would have to work on "frost-fighting".

Mr Lee said high cloud was expected to increase with scattered rain developing this evening. Northwesterly winds would change to a strong southwesterly overnight.

Tomorrow would be fine in the morning, with strong southwesterlies, possibly gales about the coast, easing from afternoon, and a high of 16C.

On Thursday isolated morning showers were expected, with the wind picking up again as southwesterlies become strong or gale for a time.

Morning frosts would herald the end of the week, with high cloud increasing later.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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