Severe gales up to 120km/h to pummel Auckland, Wellington

Aucklanders and Wellingtonians are being warned to batten down the hatches on Wednesday as strong gusterly winds are forecast to batter the regions and potentially bring down powerlines.

Both WeatherWatch and Metservice are predicting Auckland will be struck by intense winds which could reach 100km/h.

Heavy rain is expected to accompany the northeasterlies between 8am and 2pm.

"Even though it is moving pretty fast, it is quite a compact and intense system, so it is going to be bringing severe weather, and that is going to be come in the form of heavy rain for the northern areas of the North Island," Metservice forecaster Angue Hines told Newshub.

"Initially, very strong northerly winds at the top of the country. Then at a little bit later in the day, when this whole system pulls away to the east, in behind it we get very strong and cold southerly winds, and they are going to be affecting central parts of the country."

Electricity line companies, including Vector, WEL Networks, and Top Energy around the upper North Island are on alert and are warning the public to be aware of potential hazards caused by the weather.

"Trees and branches crashing into lines and cars colliding with power poles in the wet are both possibilities until the worst of the weather passes," a Vector spokesperson said.

"People are being asked to consider putting garden furniture and trampolines away, as well as any loose material around the garden such as tarpaulins, as these all have the potential to be hazardous during the storm."

The spokesperson said power outages occur, crews will work quickly to get the power back on but must remain vigilant of their own safety. All downed lines should be treated as live at all times.

Tips from Vector

  • Stay well clear of fallen power lines or damaged electrical equipment and treat them as live at all times.
  • Watch out for falling tree branches as these can cause damage to power lines.
  • Avoid possible damage to electrical appliances (in the unlikely event there is a power surge when the power is restored) by switching off appliances at the wall.
  • Keep a torch and spare batteries handy and ensure that you have at least one telephone that does not rely on electricity for operation.
  • Ensure that an alternate fuel is always available for cooking (e.g. gas for BBQ).
  • If you have an electric garage door, prepare how you can gain entry to the garage another way so you have access to your vehicle.
  • Tie down objects on your property that may be impacted by strong winds (ie: trampolines, BBQ’s and BBQ covers).
  • Take extreme care if you are driving in poor weather and delay trips if possible. Do not drive through floodwaters.
  • If you are on tank water please ensure you have plenty of bottled water available.
  • If a planned outage for network maintenance has been advised in your area over the coming days, be aware this could be rescheduled depending on impacts from the weather
  • If life or property is at risk, call 111.

In Wellington and Marlborough, the wind could be even stronger, with Metservice warning of 120km/h gales.

Taranaki and the easter Bay of Plenty can expect heavy rain, while snow is also possible on the Central Plateau on late Wednesday and early Thursday.

Those in the south will mostly see a brief reprieve from wet weather, but Fiordland could be hit on Wednesday by some heavy rain. Snow is likely in the ranges behind Kaikoura and Marlborough.

WeatherWatch says people should avoid fishing in the west - whether out on the water or on rocks - due to the "enormous seas" on Thursday, Friday and Saturday which could be dangerous.