Huge waves and strong winds wash away 10 m (33 feet) high seawall, New Zealand

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A severe weather outbreak wreaked havoc in New Zealand over the weekend of July 23, 2016, as huge waves and strong winds battered the region of Wellington. A Porirua seawall has been washed away, while the Kapiti Coast beach was entirely immersed in the waves.

A combination of stormy weather conditions and high tides caused the incidents, according to media reports. Local roads and highways have been closed throughout the weekend after being rendered unsafe for driving, due to rising sea level.

Portions of the Porirua coast suffered the hardest blow, as a 10 m (32.8 feet) high seawall in Plimmerton was washed away. The waters have reached the doors of the Plimmerton Fire Station, near the beach. Other affected parts include Steyne Avenue, also battered by intense waves. Strong winds reportedly toppled trees and sent trampolines flying across the affected areas.

Thirteen concrete blocks weighing 1.5 tons and sandbags were placed between the sea and the Fire station on July 24. The seawall has already sustained damage during the 2013 winter storm, but this time, the damage was much greater, and it may take up to six months to repair the damage.

Video credit: Ben Bowie via stuff.co.nz

Video credit: New Zealand Herald

About 4 m (13 feet) of land from the grounds of the local family beach house in Paraparaumu were swept away between July 23 and 24, on the Kapiti Coast. According to David Meikle, the central communications shift manager, the Fire Service received numerous calls regarding severe weather conditions in Wellington.

Maximum wind gust speed of 107 km/h (66.5 mph) was recorded in Wellington on July 23. Almost 9 mm (0.35 inches) of rainfall was reported in Porirua and 13 mm (0.5 inches) in Kelburn, Wellington while another 5 mm (0.19 inches) of precipitation and wind gusts up to 100 km/h (62 mph) were expected on the afternoon of July 24 (local time) in Wellington city.

On July 24, a storm warning was in effect for the Cook Strait, as MetService anticipated northerly swells up to 3 m (9.8 feet) and southerly swells of 1 m (3.3 feet) in height. Severe north westerlies were expected in Wellington, Wairarapa, the Marlborough Sounds and the Chatham Islands. Large swells and waves were anticipated along the western coast.

Featured image: Ben Bowie of Paraparaumu took a video outside his family beach house on Raeburn Ln on the afternoon of July 24, 2016 (local time). Image credit: Ben Bowie via stuff.co.nz

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