Wellington is being battered by strong winds and torrential rain as severe weather sweeps across the lower half of the country.
Several flights expected to land in the capital today have been cancelled and MetService has issued two severe weather warnings for the region. Wellington can expect northwest gales at speeds of up to 130km/h through until 6pm today – these have the potential to down powerlines and trees and motorists are urged to be cautious if they venture out into the chaotic conditions.
Two trampers in the Tararua Ranges were caught out by the conditions on Sunday, needing search and rescue (SAR) teams to head up into the mountain to walk them out.
On Monday morning, one person remained stranded in the ranges as the conditions deteriorated. He activated his personal locator beacon on Sunday night, but SAR teams were unable to reach him.
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One team set out on Monday morning to try to locate the man by travelling along the ridgeline but were forced to take shelter because the winds were too dangerous.
Another tramper who got into trouble on Sunday was walked to Powell Hutt by SAR teams but they could not get off the mountain as the conditions were too poor. They spent the night in the Hut and were due to walk out on Monday morning.
The Tararua Ranges are braced for heavy rain with MetService warning of up to 100mm falling. There will be peak rates of 10 to 20mm per hour, which could cause surface flooding, slips and flash flooding.