BREAKING NEWS!! 165KM/H WIND GUST ON TOP OF MT WELLINGTON, TASMANIA 1130AM
This is the equivalent of category 3 cyclone!
ROARING DAMAGING WINDS CONTINUE TO BATTER TASMANIA!! Please stay safe and secure all loose objects!!
Winds will moderate a touch tomorrow.
- Mount Wellington recorded strongest gusts of 165kph
- SES warns people to not undertake any unnecessary travel
- TasNetworks flooded with calls as thousands of homes blacked out
14 July, 2016
Damaging winds with gusts of up to 150 kilometres per hour are continuing to batter Tasmania as crews work to restore power to 3,000 homes and businesses.
The State Emergency Service (SES) is dealing with dozens of call-outs and some residents around Hobart have been without power since Tuesday.
Houses have lost roofs and buildings in Hobart's CBD have been damaged, including the Vodafone building in Bathurst street, which had a 10th floor window frame blown in.
A statement from Vodafone said a large window frame containing six windows blew inwards.
Hobart's Mount Wellington recorded one of the strongest wind gusts, clocking 165kph about 11:30am.
SES regional manager Mark Nelson warned people to avoid unnecessary travel.
"There is a lot of potential for damaged trees, powerlines down, power outages," he said.
"Be aware of dangerous road conditions as well, there's going to be a lot of debris on the roads.
"If you can, just avoid walking and driving out and about because there's just a lot flying around."
The SES repeated warnings to secure outdoor furniture and equipment, after a trampoline landed on a neighbour's roof.
TasNetworks spokeswoman Jacquie Collis did not say when power would be fully restored adding the company had been overwhelmed with calls for help.
"[We were] responding to 1,000 calls an hour yesterday, and we've tripled our staff levels," she said.
Fifty crews were out prioritising larger areas such as Glenorchy and South Hobart, but there was no estimate of when the Tasman Peninsula would be back on line.
Police closed Strickland Avenue in South Hobart between the Cascade Brewery and Huon Road, where a tree was down and winds were damaging homes.
Tasman Mayor Roseanne Heyward said residents and businesses on the Tasman Peninsular were struggling to cope with ongoing power outages.
"The main complaints that I get are the fact that they can't connect, there's no internet, there's no phone," she said.
"Places like the medical centre or the historical site, businesses that rely on power, the cafes of course and restaurants can't open so they lose money. It's a big problem."
Trimming trees could have prevented blackout, resident says
Claire, a resident of Summerleas, located south of Hobart, told 936 ABC Hobart she had been without power overnight.
"We've been out of power since ten o'clock Tuesday night," he said.
"We have tank water and that, which means we've got no water, no power, no internet, no nothing.
Joe from South Hobart said he had been without power for the best part of two days but pre-emptive action could have prevented the blackout.
"You can bet every time there's a weather event we're the first to lose power," he said.
"The reason, there are trees within metres of the lines which fall across the lines and road.
"The fix is simple. Cut or trim the trees. It's called preventative maintenance.
"It'd surely be less expensive than emergency call-outs and the back-pay cheques that we receive
"Would it take a life to be lost before action is taken."
The weather bureau has also issued a flood watch for the south.
Forecaster Alex Melitsis said between 30 and 80 millimetres was expected in the west, with the rainfall flowing into southern river basins.
"With this very strong westerly airstream, we're just seeing moisture being pumped into the west and very heavy shower activity into the west," he said.
Strong winds yesterday caused about $1 million damage at Hobart's showgrounds and a man was trapped after part of a building collapsed in central Hobart.
Cold weather in Australia
Maximum temp anomalies for yesterday Wednesday July 13th across the country.
Truck drivers have been warned not to use the Auckland Harbour Bridge as strong winds hit.
Wild winds have ripped through the centre of the country, crushing fences, felling trees and cutting power to hundreds.
A thunderstorm which tore through Paraparaumu, north of Wellington, on Thursday morning left fences crushed under fallen trees from a possible tornado.
MetService meteorologist Emma Blades said the "band of thunderstorms" that crossed the area about 2am were extremely strong.
"It could have been a tornado or it may have just been a line. There was rain off and on all night and seems to have peaked [about 5am]."
By midday Auckland Transport was warning of speed limits and strong gusts - up to 90kmh - on the Harbour Bridge.
The New Zealand Transport Agency said at 1.30pm on Thursday that gusts of up to 90km/h were recorded and were expected to continue for the next few hours.
This damage was reportedly left by a tornado in Paraparaumu which happened overnight on July 13, 2016.
"High-sided vehicles and motorcyclists should consider using State Highway 16 and 18 as an alternative route," said agency spokeswoman Sarah Azam.
"Road users should take extra care and increase their following distance."
MetService meteorologist Lisa Murray said the mean wind speed around the bridge was 48km/h, gusting up to a gale-force 83km/h.
"With gusts of that strength, you need to be concerned, high rise vehicles or light vehicles can be pushed around.
Meanwhile, storms across the Nelson region left hundreds without power. Network Tasman chief executive Wayne Mackey said crews worked in hazardous conditions to try to restore electricity to customers.
Further south, ski fields are in for a welcome dump of snow as winter closes in.
More rain, strong winds and snow to low levels are all on the cards for many parts, particularly the South Island, throughout Thursday and into Friday.
Snow is set to dump between 10cm and 15cm at Coronet Peak, the Remarkables, Cardrona and Ohau ski fields.
State Highway 94 remains closed between Te Anau and Milford.
Severe thunderstorms, possibly with small coastal tornadoes, could hit Westland and Buller north of Harihari from 6am to midday Friday, and south of Harihari in Westland and Fiordland between midnight and 7am.
Damaging wind gusts up to 110kmh could accompany the thunderstorms. "Wind gusts of this strength can cause damage to trees, power lines and unsecured structures and may make driving hazardous. If any tornadoes occur, they will only affect very localised areas," MetService said.
MetService meteorologist Erick Brenstrum said the worst of the overnight system had passed and heavy rain was starting to ease for most parts. The heavy rain band was moving east over the Bay of Plenty, he said.
Overnight, 300mm of rain fell west of the divide in Westland and spilled over the Southern Alps to bring snow and rain to central and eastern parts of the South Island.
"This has been one of the events where the rain has not been confined to the Southern Alps. It's also done this thing called spillover. Rain has been sweeping across the North Island but the front has not been as active.
"The front that caused the rain in the west is now over the Bay of Plenty and should be east of the North Island by midday. With the front having moved east of much of the country the winds have dropped.
"This air coming in on Thursday is colder. That's causing snow.
"It's snowing at the Milford tunnel. It's likely snow's down to low levels."
OUTLOOK FOR FRIDAY...LESS DRAMA
Brenstrum said an approaching front overnight to Friday was forecast to bring another band of heavy rain and possibly severe gales.
"Then we go into a southwest flow where it continues with showers in western areas. For most parts of the country it's less drama.
"The second front's west of Fiordland about midnight [Thursday]. That should have cleared the whole of New Zealand by Friday night. By far and away the biggest weather producer is over the Bay of Plenty [on Thursday]. The front coming tonight is significant and I think we'll be putting warnings on it.".
Severe northwest gales between 130kmh and 140kmh hit Wellington, Marlborough, the Wairarapa, Taranaki, Wanganui and Taihape on Thursday morning.
Road snowfall warnings are in effect, with snow expected to low levels in Otago, Southland and Canterbury. Snow showers on Thursday are forecast to dump 6cm of snow on the Lewis Pass, up to 8cm on Arthur's Pass, 2cm on Porters Pass and 7cm on the Lindis Pass in Central Otago.
Up to 30cm of snow was forecast to fall around Milford and State Highway 94 between Te Anau and Milford remains closed.
Auckland can expect rain and 16C, Napier gets morning rain then clear conditions and 17C while Wellington is forecast to get rain, thunder and gale force gusts.
In the South Island, Nelson can expect showers, strong westerlies and 15C, but Christchurch has a better day ahead than most with some cloud, wind and 14C.
For Greymouth, it's heavy rain, strong westerlies and thunderstorms with a maximum 12C.
Morning showers are forecast for Dunedin with some cloud and 11C.
Australia is much colder than normal while New Zealand is still warmer than usual
Sea temperature anomalies
The Tasman Sea is still much warmer than usual while seas to the south of Australia are colder