Weekend a chance to mop up storm mess

By Vaimoana Tapaleao, APNZ

Sunny weather with some showers forecast throughout the country but it will remain cold

A welcome weather respite is expected this weekend, giving those whose homes were battered by gales and driving rain a chance to clean up.

Forecasters say the wild weather that king-hit the country with thunderstorms, heavy rain, hail and winds of up to 200km/h is set to ease in the next few days.

But the advice is to keep warm, as chilly temperatures continue.

The MetService gradually lifted severe weather warnings last night, including for Wellington where high winds caused havoc and cut power to much of the city.

Forecaster Chris Noble said the country was just starting to come out of a severe weather system it had been stuck in for several days.

"The wind particularly around Wellington has well passed the peak now. Auckland, in and around the Waikato and most parts of the North Island will see the sun this weekend, with only a few showers."

A temperature high of 14°C and 8°C overnight is forecast in Auckland today and the same tomorrow.

There will be a few showers from Taranaki to Northland while Gisborne, Napier and surrounding areas will see more rain.

Those in Tauranga can look forward to a sunny weekend, with no rain forecast in the next three days.

Mr Noble said people in the South Island could also expect to see more sun this weekend, with Nelson down to Christchurch and Dunedin and Invercargill all forecast for fine spells either today or tomorrow.

Temperatures in the south range from highs of up to 8°C and overnight lows of between 0°C and 3°C.

MetService has warned that snow falling in eastern and Central Otago above 200m may become heavy overnight tonight.

"The one thing that will keep going is a little bit more snow in the east and south of the South Island like Marlborough, Canterbury and parts of eastern Otago," Mr Noble said.

"There's also going to be a bit more snow on the Desert Rd and the Central Plateau."

The weather was the worst the country has seen in years and has been a nightmare in a number of areas, but particularly in Wellington.

Emergency services received around 900 callouts yesterday as people woke to torn-off roofs, damaged homes and vehicles thrown down the street.

Many seaside roads around the harbour, particularly around the south coast, were damaged by huge waves.

The severe storm left 30,000 homes and businesses without power at its peak. About 5,000 customers were still without power last night, and some rural residents will not be reconnected for a few days.

Train tracks were damaged and flights grounded at Wellington Airport, leaving hundreds stranded.

A woman suffered a heart attack on Thursday night after a lightning bolt caused a boom that shattered windows and shook houses in a north Auckland suburb.

A childhood holiday home of writer Katherine Mansfield was severely damaged by massive waves that crashed over the front of the beachfront Wellington property. Mansfield spent her summers at Days Bay as a child and one of her most famous short stories, At the Bay, was based on her time there.

More than 150 schools around the country were forced to shut their doors as conditions proved too risky.

The outlook

Northland to Waitomo, also Coromandel and Gisborne
Occasional showers. Southwest gales easing.

Northern Taranaki, Taumarunui, Taupo and the Bay of Plenty
Fine today, cloudy areas tomorrow.

- NZ Herald

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