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Rain, gales and flooding; flights and harbour ferries cancelled

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Wellington Airport advised this afternoon that some arrivals and departures had been cancelled or delayed because of the high winds.

Northbound traffic out of Wellington was congested tonight. MetLink said all its services would be delayed because of the traffic and the weather.

Due to possible damage to the seawall caused by high tide and high winds, train services on the Kapiti line were halted at midday between Porirua and Paekakariki. The line was cleared and reopened at 1.40pm.

Because of surface flooding and debris, State Highway 58 was closed at Whitby between James Cook Drive and Postgate Drive. It was reopened at 2.30pm.

Strong winds on the Rimutaka Hill Road brought a warning from the NZTA. The winds had eased by 5pm.

All harbour ferry crossings were cancelled this afternoon.

Councillor Chris Calvi-Freeman tweeted this afternoon:

Just got home after doing a reccie around the low lying areas of Kilbirnie & Rongotai to see how these areas flood when we get these huge downpours. With more of these extreme weather events predicted to occur now, with climate change, tbe Wellington City Council and Wellington_Water will need to resolve to address historical drainage problems. Work is already planned for the worst affected Kilbirnie areas. but there’s more to do.

Which brought a response from Newtown resident Dave Armstrong:

Storm water failure in Newtown yet again. Even though residents have been clearing drains most of the arvo, our problem is deep down. Street flooded, parked cars won’t start and dangerous water splayed everywhere as vehicles whizz by.

News from MetService
A major storm (former Tropical Cyclone Fehi) is moving southeast across the South Island today. It should then move away to the southeast of New Zealand on Friday. This storm brings significant heavy rain and possible damaging winds to much of the South Island and parts of the North Island until Friday morning.

Gale force winds are expected for southern and central New Zealand, initially from the north but turning northwest then southwest during today. A strong wind warning is in force for Wellington, southern Taranaki, Westland, Buller, the Canterbury High Country, Nelson, and Marlborough.

This Watch is for the possibility of rainfall accumulations reaching warning amounts in Wellington, Horowhenua Kapiti Coast, Taranaki away from the mountain.

This Watch is also for the likelihood of winds reaching severe gale force over the Canterbury Plains, Christchurch, Wanganui, Manawatu, Horowhenua Kapiti Coast, Wairarapa, Fiordland and eastern Otago during today.

News from MetService – January 31
Heavy rain is forecast for the southwest of the North Island tomorrow, and gale force winds for the lower North Island.

A major storm (former Tropical Cyclone Fehi) should approach from the north tonight and cross the South Island during Thursday. It will move away to the southeast on Friday. This storm will bring significant heavy rain and possible damaging winds to much of the South Island and parts of the lower North Island from late Wednesday to early Friday.

In addition, gale force winds are expected for southern and central New Zealand, initially from the north tonight, then from the northwest about the middle of Thursday, and changing southwesterly Thursday afternoon or evening.

A strong wind warning is in force for Wellington, southern Taranaki, Westland, Buller, Canterbury High Country, Nelson, Marlborough.

There is a possibility of rainfall accumulations reaching warning amounts in Wellington, Horowhenua Kapiti Coast, Taranaki away from the mountain, Taihape, Taupo, Taumarunui and Waitomo including Tongariro National Park during Thursday.

This Watch is also covers the likelihood of winds reaching severe gale force in Canterbury Plains, Christchurch, Wanganui, Manawatu, Horowhenua Kapiti Coast, Wairarapa, Fiordland and eastern Otago on Thursday .

Please also note, that the combination of strong winds, heavy swells and high tides could cause coastal inundation about the west coast of South Island and also Nelson during Thursday.

Area: Kapiti-Horowhenua, Wellington
from 2:00pm Thursday to 12:00am Friday
Forecast: Periods of heavy rain from Thursday afternoon to Thursday evening, and rainfall accumulation may approach warning amounts (eg. 60mm in 9 hours).

Strong Wind Watch
Area: Wanganui, Manawatu, Horowhenua Kapiti Coast and Wairarapa
12 hours from 5:00am to 5:00pm Thursday
Forecast: Northerly gales developing Thursday morning, turning northwesterly Thursday afternoon. Winds may reach severe gale strength in exposed places during this time.