Massive tides lash Wellington coast

By Catherine Gaffaney

File photo / Richard Robinson
File photo / Richard Robinson

Strong winds and massive tides battered Wellington's south coast last night, causing a fishing boat to break from its moorings and an esplanade to be covered in debris.

The Esplanade in Island Bay was closed for an hour this morning while boulders, rocks and seaweed were cleaned up.

It was messy but there was not any damage to the road like there was during a massive storm last year, Wellington City Council spokesman Clayton Anderson said.

"The road's fine, it's the debris spread on to the road that's causing the problem," he said.

Gusty southerlies and swells of up to seven metres had caused the debris, MetService meteorologist Liz Walsh said.

"A mean wind speed of 72 km/h was recorded at the airport between midnight and 5am," she said.

"We also recorded gusts of around 100 km/h so it was well into a gale."

A gust of 105 km/h was also recorded further north in the city.

Bad weather was expected to continue this afternoon, but it would not be as spectacular as yesterday, Ms Walsh said.

"There could be some hail, but it's less likely than yesterday and the chance of a storm is a low.

"By tomorrow afternoon we'll be basically looking at clear skies."

The supermoon had caused a king tide at the start of the week. Although there was not a king tide overnight, the full moon had contributed to the steep swells, she said.

Watch this timelapse of the storm hitting Wellington sent in by reader Mike Ross:

Meanwhile, the council said the zephyrometer sculpture, which was struck by lightning yesterday, would be secured this afternoon so it did not break and fly away if the stormy weather continued.

It could not be taken down until the artist Phil Price, who was out of the country, was contacted.

- APNZ

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