High winds cause havoc for Hawke's Bay
Strong westerly winds have caused havoc around Hawke's Bay with flights in and out of the region cancelled, operations at Napier Port halted, and thousands without power.
Cape Turnagain - partway between Hawke Bay and Cook Strait - recorded the strongest wind speed over the weekend and one of the highest ever officially recorded in the country, at 246km/h, MetService said.
Napier Port closed the container terminal for receival and delivery due to high winds yesterday afternoon, as per their standard operating processes.
"The terminal reopened at 11.30am this morning, but closed again at 2.15pm with wind gust speeds topping over 50 knots."
Normal operations resumed about 3.30pm.
Unison Acting General Manager Network and Operations, Gaganpreet Chadha, said more than 7700 customers had been impacted by outages since the wind picked up yesterday, and small pockets of customers remain without power.
“Just over 400 customers remain without power on Unison’s network in Hawke’s Bay, and we should be able to restore power to a further 200 by the end of today.
Unison crews have been working hard to assess damage and restore power to customers.
“Unfortunately, there are parts of the network that have either suffered extensive damage or are more difficult to access, particularly in areas of northern Hawke’s Bay, Crownthorpe, and Maraekakaho. This means it is unlikely crews will be able to complete restorations in these areas safely before nightfall, but crews will be on site tomorrow morning to complete restoration repairs.
“We understand the inconvenience and the impact of being without power and are doing all we can to repair the network and restore customers as quickly as we can.
“In weather like this, the safety of our crews is a priority. We appreciate our customers’ patience as we work to safely reconnect those who experience outages.”
Unison is advising customers to ensure they are prepared for power outages.
An Air New Zealand spokeswoman said due to high winds, we cancelled 10 flights into and out of Hawke’s Bay this morning, and one flight from Christchurch to Napier diverted to Palmerston North.
"The current weather pattern is causing disruptions across our network. Our team is working hard to manage the evolving weather situation and get customers to where they need to be as soon as possible. Due to the scale of the disruption and continued bad weather, this is expected to take a couple of days.
"Customers who had their flights cancelled have been re-accommodated on the next available service. Air New Zealand would like to thank customers for their patience and understanding."
ACT leader David Seymour was one of the impacted passengers, with his flight to Hawke's Bay cancelled.
Should the power go out, report it to 0800 2 UNISON (0800 2 86476) or online at www.unison.co.nz/outages and take the following safety precautions:
- Check for fallen or damaged power lines. Never touch wires or lines lying on the ground, hanging from poles, or objects such as trees that may be touching them. Fallen lines or wires may still be carrying an electrical current and could shock, injure or even kill if touched.
- Turn off the power at the main switch if you suspect any electrical damage in your home. If the power goes out, turn off all electrical appliances to prevent possible damage by a power surge when the electricity supply is restored.