Locals bunker down as a new year blows in

By Don Farmer, don.farmer@age.co.nz

Featherston people and those living at the southern extremities of Wairarapa were preparing to batten down the hatches yesterday in expectation of gale force winds.

The first bulletins issued by the MetService in 2013 warned southern Wairarapa could be in for a rocky ride with northwesterlies gusting to 140km/h battering the district from yesterday through until tomorrow.

Early evidence the MetService may not be too short of the mark came early yesterday when winds whipped up in Featherston before abating in mid morning, but not before the Featherston Fire Brigade had been summoned to deal with a wind-related incident in Wakefield St where a window had been blown in.

But locals were not convinced the high winds had gone and were expecting them to return later.

The gales were the remnants from huge northwesterlies that have hammered the east of the South Island from Monday and have the potential to damage trees, bring down powerlines and rip off roofs.

The prospect of high winds was not a welcome thought for campers and holidaymakers or the Wairarapa Racing Club which is staging its New Year meeting at Tauherenikau today, along with four harness races from its sister club.

Elsewhere in Wairarapa, and in Tararua, weather for the start of the new year has also been uninspiring.

Quite high winds buffeted Masterton on New Year's Day and northwesterly gusts swept through Eketahuna/ Pahiatua and the outlying farming areas.

- Wairarapa Times-Age

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