November 29, 2023

Hutt Council urges residents to ‘stay home’ as ‘king tides’, strong winds lash Capital, several Cook Strait ferry sailings cancelled

Watch: Large swells are continuing to batter parts of the lower North Island, causing debris to cover roads.

Wild weather is expected to lash Wellington on Wednesday with some residents being urged to stay home as heavy swells batter the region.

Hutt City Council said contractors are working on Marine Drive clearing debris but warned the weather is going to get worse in the next couple of hours.

“We’re approaching high tide, and it’s a King Tide which means the tide will be much higher than normal with large waves,” the council said.

“There’s also a strong southerly wind. The next 2 hours are going to be the most dangerous for travel on Marine Drive.”

MetService said a strong southwest flow across central and southern New Zealand should ease during Wednesday as a deep low east of the lower South Island moves further away. 

But the forecaster has issued a heavy swell warning for Wellington until Wednesday afternoon. 

MetService warns of waves of up to 6m are forecast in Wairarapa, while slightly smaller swells are expected in the capital and the Hutt Coast. 

The inundation could cover coastal roads and MetService is asking motorists to be careful when driving. 

“Due to KING tides, strong southerly winds and large waves, some inundation is possible about the south coast of Wellington and Eastbourne, especially two hours each side of Wednesday morning’s high tide,” MetService said. 

“SH2 could see minor wave splash across the tracks and southbound land of SH2. Despite the king tide, a limiting factor could be the air pressure which does not get very low.”

Meanwhile, Bluebridge and Interislander have cancelled some ferry crossings due to the weather. 

The Interislander said the swells in Cook Strait remain at about 5m, which has resulted in the 6:15am and 8:45am Aratere and Kaiarahi sailings being cancelled for the safety of passengers and crew. 

This also means the 11am and 2:15pm sailings from Picton are also cancelled.

“Unfortunately we are fully booked and we are unable to move you to other sailings. You will receive a full refund,” Interislander said in a statement. “Please do not come to the terminals. “We are not offering standbys. We are still assessing whether later sailings will depart. We will update later in the morning.”

Bluebridge said Wellington to Picton sailings at 8:15am and 1:30pm have been cancelled as well as the Picton to Wellington sailings at 7:45am and 2pm. 

Would you like to receive notifications on latest updates? No Yes