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Monday, April 15, 2024
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High winds close Hill

Heavy rain and strong winds lashed the lower North Island yesterday, prompting a two-hour closure of State Highway 2 Remutaka Hill.

On Sunday, the MetService issued a strong wind watch for Wellington and southern Wairarapa and a heavy rain warning for the Tararua Ranges starting from the early hours of yesterday.

The wind warning was upgraded at 9.30am to include the entire Wairarapa region.

Emergency services received reports shortly after 10am of a truck trailer that had rolled on Remutaka Hill.

A police spokesperson confirmed that police responded to the call and that no injuries were reported.

Although the northbound truck itself had remained upright, the trailer it was towing had rolled and landed against the guard rail on the southern side of the summit.

A Fire and Emergency [Fenz] spokesperson said crews from Remutaka and Trentham responded to the call and that nobody had been trapped.

Fenz crews secured the scene and ensured that it was safe while providing traffic control, before leaving the scene at about 12.50pm.

NZTA Waka Kotahi closed the Hill to all traffic at 12.30pm due to safety concerns for motorists.

Drivers were told to avoid the area, delay travel, or take an alternative route – which would have added at least two hours of travel time to commuters’ journeys.

NZTA reopened the Hill at 2.40pm after winds had eased and the truck had been recovered and removed.

“NZTA and the Wellington Transport Alliance want to thank drivers for their patience and understanding during yesterday’s closure,” a spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said the dangers posed by high winds meant that closing the Hill had been a necessary precaution.

A Powerco spokesperson confirmed that 103 properties near Kaituna lost power at 12.38pm yesterday and while the cause hadn’t been determined, the high winds and rain were the prime suspect.

Powerco was able to get 83 of the properties back up and running by the early afternoon, and the final 20 properties had an estimated restoration time of 4.45pm.

In the same area, 83 properties lost power supply for several seconds at 3.16pm.

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