Swells ease in Wellington, roads reopen, but residents asked to remain vigilant

The road leading in and out of Eastbourne has reopened after the Lower Hutt suburb was cut off by large swells and debris.

Roads on Wellington City’s south coast have also reopened now that rocks from the seawall have been removed from the path of motorists.

MetService issued a heavy swell warning along the coast. High winds were expected to drive waves as high as 6m this afternoon.

Jeremy Holmes, the regional manager of Wellington’s Civil Defence emergency management group, told the Herald swells were expected to ease to 5.5m this evening.

“Although the tide has gone down this afternoon, we can still expect some large waves and potential debris this evening- particularly as we approach high tide around 11.48pm tonight.”

Holmes said the worst was probably over, but people needed to remain vigilant.

He said people should check MetService for weather updates, use alternative routes if possible, tie down boats and trailers, and avoid the water.

Evacuations were not being considered as of 5pm, Holmes said.

Some properties at Ōwhiro Bay have experienced some minor water damage from the sea coming over the road and into garages, he said.

Wellington City Council spokesman Richard MacLean said The Esplanade between Ōwhiro Bay and Island Bay was now open to traffic as well as Ōwhiro Bay Parade.

Moa Point Rd beside the Wellington Airport runway was also open after rocks were removed from the roadway earlier this afternoon, he said.

“Motorists are asked to take care while contractors continue to clear away debris following today’s heavy seas.”

The roads might be clear, but Wellington Airport has reported strong wind causing some disruption to flights.

MetService has also issued a strong wind watch through the Wellington region, saying southerly winds could reach gale force throughout the afternoon.

All ferry services across the Cook Strait have been cancelled.

The road leading to Eastbourne was earlier closed from Point Howard.

Resident Kaine Thompson told the Herald he had taken the ferry into work that morning as usual, but began the bus commute home when he checked the weather forecast.

He said the trip home was eventful.

“The sea was coming up over the road, there were rocks, debris, logs – it was down to one lane in places so I’m not surprised it’s closed.”

His car was parked at Days Bay, and Thompson thinks he retrieved it just in time.

“Both my car and I are safe and sound at home now because where my car was, the sea was crashing up on to where the cars were parked. I’m fairly sure some of those other cars will have some damage.

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