High temperatures and strong winds dominated the Hawke's Bay weather landscape again yesterday, fanning fires, causing traffic incidents and sending tree branches flying.
While things are set to ease through the week, as the Australian heatwave-sourced "hot and humid" conditions slide north, Metservice meteorologist Thomas Adams said yesterday's strong northwesterlies would simply shift to the Bay's ranges overnight.
"While the strong northwesterly winds are set to ease overnight they will remain strong in the northern ranges of the region," he said.
Mr Adams said yesterday's temperatures peaked at 33.5C in Hastings while wind gusts rose to 80km/h at the Napier Airport.
"I guess the tricky thing is as well as being dry it's also very windy," he said.
At 6pm last night the northwesterly winds were still blowing at speeds of 56km/h, Mr Adams said.
With little chance of significant rain over the next few days Mr Adams said the loitering winds would continue to blow on any fires burning in the region.
At the height of yesterday's wind gusts police issued a warning to motorists, particularly on SH2 in the Dannevirke area where at least two weather-related traffic incidents had been reported.
A campervan was blown over by a strong gust just outside Dannevirke although none of the family travelling in it were injured.
Two people were taken to hospital with minor injuries after a two-car collision on a side road off SH2 near the town which a police spokesperson said had been caused by wind striking one of the vehicles.
Police released traffic alerts for drivers, especially those with high-sided vehicles as well as motorcyclists.
Branches had also been snapped from trees across the region; one branch coming down and luckily missing two car sales yards.
Metservice meteorologist Ciaran Doolan said satellite imagery clearly showed smoke from Australian wildfires drifting over New Zealand - driven across by the strong westerlies that blew throughout the Bay yesterday.
"You're seeing the effects of that heatwave and you have that right scenario - being on the downside of the ranges and getting the warm westerlies coming over," he said.
However, Mr Doolan said the next three days would become more comfortable for the Bay.
And while the current long-range forecast, which is automatically generated by Metservice's computer weather modelling system, could bring smiles to the faces of farmers and firefighters, it could bring frowns to Art Deco enthusiasts, if it eventuates.
As of late yesterday the forecast for Friday is for showers and a temperature of 22C.
Saturday and Sunday are pegged as rain with easterlies, and humid temperatures in the mid-20s.
"On Friday you are probably going to see some periods of rain and there is the possibly of some heavy falls," Mr Doolan said.
Saturday, at this stage, looked similar.
The formula for wet weather was due to the present front moving over the north and then stalling - and potentially reactivating later in the week which would bring the same humid conditions south and from the east - meaning damp weather.
However, he said there was still a degree of uncertainty over the long-range forecasts at this stage, as weather could be unpredictable.
"It could change - people need to keep an eye on the forecasts as we get closer."
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