Ferries cancelled as 6m waves forecast in Cook Strait

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Some Interislander ferry services are cancelled from this afternoon with 6m waves forecast in Cook Strait.

The Aratere in Wellington in 2011 after it was lengthened.

The Interislander ferry Aratere (file). Photo: RNZ

The southerly winds bringing large swells to Cook Strait are expected to reach gale force in Wellington this evening.

Warnings for severe gale southerlies are in place for Wellington, southern Wairarapa, northern Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne.

Coastal areas of northern Wairarapa and coastal Hawke’s Bay south of Cape Kidnappers could also get severe gales.

Interislander cancelled four sailings today and two early morning crossings tomorrow.

Cancelled sailings:

  • Aratere 1600 from Wellington, 2045 from Picton
  • Kaitaki 2030 from Wellington and 0230 (Thursday) from Picton
  • Kaiarahi 1830 from Picton and 0200 (Thursday) from Wellington

Interislander executive general manager Walter Rushbrook said all affected passengers would be contacted and transferred to alternative sailings. He said the company regretted the inconvenience to passengers but safety had to be its top priority.

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Bluebridge has not announced any cancellations.

Wellington City Council is warning residents of the South Coast to be prepared for the large swells along the south coast from late afternoon.

MetService meterologist Kyle Lee said the worst of the southerlies would hit from 6pm and peak around midnight.

“Because of the strong southerly surge we are also expecting combined waves and swells to get up to five-and-a-half, maybe even six-and-a-half, metres for the south coast this evening in Wellington – unfortunate timing in terms of maximum swell and combined waves.”

After huge waves hit the coast in April causing damage to homes a [https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/415809/wave-warning-system-introduced-after-huge-swell-hit-wellington wave warning system was brought in to alert councils and civil defence.

Snow warnings

Heavy snow warnings have been issued by MetService for Taihape, the Ruahine Range and the Tararua Range, while a heavy snow watch has been issued for the ranges of Marlborough.

The Desert Road (SH1) could get snow up to 25cm deep at higher altitudes, while the Remutaka Hill Road (SH2), the Napier-Taupo Road (SH5) and Lewis Pass (SH7) will have rain turning to sleet and snow from this afternoon.

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Temperatures are expected to be low through to Friday.

This morning, Taupō and Blenheim were sub-zero, both still at -1C by 7am, and colder than Queenstown at 4C, while Auckland and Wellington were 7C.

Today’s weather in the main centres:

  • Auckland: Fine spells and showers, mainly during the middle of the day, possibly heavy. Southwesterlies. High of 12C; Low of 6C
  • Hamilton: Fine with a frosty start. Southwesterly breezes. High of 11C; Low of 0C
  • Wellington: Showers, possibly heavy. Cold southerlies rising to gale this evening, gusting 110 km/h in exposed places. High of 9C; Low of 5C
  • Christchurch: Showers. Snow flurries possible about the tops of Banks Peninsula. Strong cold southwesterlies, with gusts up to 90 km/h about Banks Peninsula. High of 7C; Low of 4C
  • Dunedin: Occasional showers with snow possible about the hill tops. Brisk southwesterlies. Fine and frosty. Southerlies at times. High of 8C; Low of 6C
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