Health experts issue warning as scorching temperatures return day after wild weather leaves thousands without power

New Zealand is going from one extreme to another with health officials warning people to stay hydrated with scorching temperatures on the way.  

It comes just a day after parts of New Zealand experienced a wild 24 hours with ferocious winds leaving thousands of properties without power.    

But the wild weather is in the rear vision mirror now, with MetService forecasting a much calmer day of weather for New Zealand on Sunday as a ridge of high pressure moves over the North Island and northern South Island.   

All the weather warnings and watches that were issued on Saturday have now eased, with only Buller, Westland, Fiordland, Otago and Southland forecast to see some rain on Sunday.   

In the North Island, MetService has forecast most places to have blue skies and temperatures in the mid-to-low twenties on Sunday.  

But on Monday, the temperatures are really set to crank up for the east of the South Island with Blenheim and Ashburton forecast to reach 33C and Christchurch 30C a day after heavy snow fell on Mt Hutt in Canterbury.   

By Waitangi Day, hot air will arrive from across the Tasman and see temperatures soaring with Blenheim forecast to reach 33C and Christchurch 31C.   

In the North Island, temperatures are meant to be warm on Monday and Waitangi Day but not as hot as the east of the South Island, with most places in the mid-to-high twenties.   

This has seen health experts issue a reminder for people in the east of the South Island who might be enjoying the long weekend and celebrating Waitangi Day.  

Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Dr Ramon Pink urged people to keep cool and hydrated during the anticipated spell of soaring temperatures.   

While people might welcome the return of the hot temperatures, the heat can affect everyone and overheating is a condition that can prove fatal, Dr Pink warns.  

"It's especially important to stay out of the sun where possible, avoid extreme physical exertion, and ensure pets and people are not left alone in stationary cars," Dr Pink said in a statement.   

"While we are all vulnerable to hot temperatures, some people are particularly at risk. This includes the elderly, infants and children, women who are pregnant, people suffering from chronic, acute and severe illness."   

Dr Pink said there are simple steps people can take to reduce the risk to their health when temperatures soar. This includes avoiding going outside during the hottest part of the day, drinking plenty of water, avoiding alcohol and caffeine and wearing lightweight, loose-fitting, light-coloured cotton clothes.  

Dr Pink says people whose work involves strenuous physical activity outdoors should be particularly vigilant to avoid overheating in hot weather.  

"It's important people exposed to hot weather for long periods of time carry water with them and sip at least half a litre an hour, allow for more breaks in the shade, reapply sunscreen every two hours, and schedule the hardest work in the coolest part of the day," Dr Pink said.   

"As well as being SunSmart (Slip, Slop, Slap & Wrap) if you have to go outside, everyone is advised to keep their houses cool by closing curtains on windows getting direct sun, opening windows to get a breeze if it's cooler out than in, and consider using the cool cycle on heat pumps."   

Hundreds still without power   

Saturday's wild weather saw more than 2300 properties in Tauranga, New Plymouth and Manawatū-Whanganui without power while further north in Hamilton, 600 properties were also affected. In Eastern Bay of Plenty, 580 homes and dozens in west and northern Auckland were also left in the dark.   

Across the country, firefighters responded to 20 calls as ferocious winds brought powerlines and trees down in Waikato and Bay of Plenty, as well as Auckland.  

But a day on from the ferocious winds, hundreds are still without power.   

According to Powerco's website, more than 800 properties in the Bay of Plenty, Manawatū, Whanganui and Wairarapa regions are still without power.   

People in Paengaroa are also still affected, with more than 200 homes without power after a tree fell on a power line. Further south in Masterton, a lightning strike on Saturday night left over 280 homes in the dark.  

Temperatures forecast for major New Zealand centres:  

  • Auckland: Sunday: 23C, Monday 25C, Tuesday: 27C  
  • Hamilton: Sunday: 23C, Monday 27C, Tuesday: 28C  
  • Tauranga: Sunday: 25C, Monday 27C, Tuesday: 26C  
  • Wellington: Sunday: 20C, Monday 23C, Tuesday: 22C  
  • Christchurch: Sunday: 28C, Monday 29C, Tuesday: 31C  
  • Dunedin: Sunday: 26C, Monday 29C, Tuesday: 26C  
  • Queenstown: Sunday: 19C, Monday 25C, Tuesday: 22C