Drivers urged to prepare for disruption from high winds and heavy rain this weekend


Waka Kotahi is urging people to prepare for the likelihood of road closures and to consider delaying non-essential travel in parts of the country being affected by severe weather from tropical Cyclone Dovi.

Metservice: Tropical Cyclone Bulletin(external link)

MetService is predicting that Cyclone Dovi is expected to bring severe weather to large parts of central and northern New Zealand, and Waka Kotahi is urging everyone to check the latest road conditions with Waka Kotahi’s on-line Journey Planner before heading out. Updates will also be provided as the situation unfolds on the Waka Kotahi Twitter account.

Journey Planner(external link)

Metservice: weather warnings and watches(external link)

Waka Kotahi traffic updates on Twitter(external link)

Waka Kotahi’s National Emergency Response Team leader Mark Owen says some road closures and travel restrictions are unavoidable given the scale of the severe weather.

“Waka Kotahi is actively monitoring the situation, with maintenance crews out across the network ready to respond. Our contractors will work to re-open any closed roads as soon possible, but with heavy rain likely to bring slips down in many areas, this work will take some time to complete.

“We’re urging people to check the latest conditions and avoid travelling in affected areas if possible. Those who are on the roads should slow down and adjust their driving to the conditions to stay safe. With high winds likely to affect many roads on Sunday, drivers of high sided vehicles and motorcyclists are also encouraged to take extra care.”

Mr Owen says motorists in Auckland are being urged to prepare for potential disruption to the state highway network with a strong wind warning in place for Auckland from early Sunday morning.

Metservice has issued a wind warning for Auckland, with average wind speeds of 80km/h or higher, and the possibility of gusts of more than 130km/h from southerly gales likely to hit the region between 10am and 4pm Sunday.

Mr Owen says the severe winds have the potential to force the closure of the Auckland Harbour Bridge for several hours on Sunday, potentially disrupting travel in and around the city.

“We’re keeping a very close eye on the situation, with maintenance crews ready to react if wind gusts reach the predicted levels. The safety of road users is our top priority and we won’t hesitate to close the bridge if necessary.

“With high winds likely to affect the region throughout the day on Sunday, drivers of high sided vehicles and motorcyclists are also encouraged to avoid the bridge and use the Western Ring on State Highways 16 and 18.”