Rare Red Warning for severe gales issued for South Island, New Zealand

Rare Red Warning for severe gales issued for South Island, New Zealand

The New Zealand MetService has issued a rare Red Warning for severe gale northwesterly winds for the Canterbury High Country and foothills from Sunday afternoon (LT), September 12 into early Monday morning, September 13, 2021. The winds are expected to produce widespread damage, especially to trees and powerlines, and could lift roofs. Red Warnings are reserved for only the most extreme weather events where significant impact and disruption are expected.

These damaging winds are associated with a cold front as it moves northwards up the South Island today and early tomorrow.1

Northwesterly severe gales with gusts of 160 km/h (100 mph) are expected in exposed places, with the strongest winds expected later this evening into tomorrow morning (LT).

Although strong northwesterly winds are a common occurrence for the central South Island, wind gusts associated with this event are expected to be of a significant and damaging nature.

These winds are likely to result in widespread damage across the Canterbury High Country and foothills, especially to trees and power lines.

"Significant impacts are also expected to transport and power networks, with road closures and power outages likely," MetService expert meteorologist Hordur Thordarson said.

Driving conditions will be very hazardous, and there is a danger to life from falling trees or branches and flying debris. Impacts to properties include roofs being lifted and damage to unsecured structures.

Image credit: NIWA

The remainder of the eastern South Island is currently under an Orange Warning, including the Canterbury Plains and Christchurch, which could also see damaging gales tonight into tomorrow morning.

The public is advised to keep up with the latest forecasts on www.metservice.com and to heed the advice of local Civil Defence and Emergency Management groups.

References:

1 MetService News Release 12/09/2021 - Covering period of Sunday 12 – Monday 13 September

Featured image credit: NIWA


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