Friday, June 14, 2024
8.9 C


My Account

- Advertisement -

Winds blast Featherston

Strong winds ripping through the region have caused havoc and sent a range of items – including fences, satellite dishes and roofs – sailing through the air.

The strength of the storm was so great that Waka Kotahi closed the Remutaka Hill SH2 road, citing the gale-force winds.

A spokesperson said the transport body had been closely monitoring the road all day and, with the winds intensifying, the decision was made to close the road late yesterday afternoon due to safety reasons.

“Strong winds are forecast to continue until midnight,” the spokesperson said.

“The highway’s status will continue to be monitored and reviewed according to the weather conditions.”

People travelling between Wellington and Wairarapa were advised to delay journeys if possible, as the alternative routes via the Paihiatua Track of Saddle Rd added significantly longer travel times.

Featherston was struck the hardest by the rough bout of weather, with the local volunteer fire brigade responding to 15 calls between 8am and 2pm yesterday.

Featherston Fire Brigade chief Colin McKenna said it had been an extremely busy morning for him and the crew.

“Things like roofs lifting, we’ve taken down a couple of sky dishes which have broken off the roof and needed removing,” McKenna said.

“Only one fence so far which was demolished, it wasn’t in very good order so we took it down.”

A memorable call for the morning was a roof which had been plucked off its shed and landed on two parked cars.

McKenna said he imagined that the roof had been plucked off by the gusts, sent flying above three houses and eventually landed on the vehicles.

“It’s obviously lifted right up and been blown across and landed on top of the two cars,”

“The guys managed to move the roof to a certain extent and move the cars out from underneath. Luckily I don’t think the damage was too great to the cars.”

A key area of concern was a privately owned two-story building with loose iron on the roof but McKenna said it was too high up for the crew to deal with.

“We’re not getting up there to fix it; it’s too high, especially in this wind,” McKenna said.

“The building’s just falling to pieces.”

McKenna said they had been in touch with the South Wairarapa District Council, and it was aware of the potentially unsafe structure.

A spokesperson for PowerCo said they were responding to several power outages in the Wairarapa caused by high winds.

This included over a thousand households in Featherston.

“We had 1,214 customers in Featherston who lost power around 11am after very high winds took down a power line and with it a power pole.”

The spokesperson said customers were progressively reconnected throughout the day, with the final 46 houses reconnected by 3.30pm.

Other significant outages in the region included 103 households in Gladstone, 78 households in Longbush, 62 households in Martinborough and 95 households in Eketāhuna.

All houses were estimated to be reconnected by 4.30pm, except for Longbush, where repairs were expected to be complete by 7.30pm.

The spokesperson reminded the public that should anyone come across any downed lines, it’s important to treat them as live at all times.

“Stay well clear and contact the 24/7 emergency line on 0800 272727 or 111,” they said.

“Customers wanting information about power cuts can go to Powerco’s outage webpage or can contact their electricity retailer.”

MetService said wind south of Carterton was expected to die down after midnight last night, but extended the region’s wind warning in the Tararua District and north of Carterton to 2am today.

“Strong wind gusts could damage trees, powerlines and unsecured structures. Driving may be hazardous, especially for high-sided vehicles and motorcycles.”

Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age, originally hailing from Wellington. She is interested in social issues and writes about the local arts and culture scene.

Related Articles

- Advertisement -
moderate rain
8.9 ° C
14.4 °
8.9 °
90 %
100 %
14 °
13 °
13 °
13 °
11 °