Wild weather: Wellington state of emergency ends, but swells remain, as residents begin clean-up

The state of emergency in Wellington’s Breaker Bay has ended but swells are still expected to reach around 5 metres this afternoon before subsiding tonight.

Last night residents on the southern coast Wellington had to evacuate from their homes due to surging seawater but this afternoon the swells have subsided.

While the residents have been allowed back to their properties, motorists and pedestrians are urged to continue to take care on roads around Wellington’s south coast.

Contractors are continuing work to clear up debris left on roadways and footpaths last night and this morning.

Swells in Wellington are expected to reach just under 5m this afternoon and will ease overnight, Metservice said.

The storm has subsided and slightly warmer temperatures are emerging, with moderate winds. Tomorrow a few showers are forecast before the weather clears, with a maximum of 12 degrees and a low of eight degrees overnight.

Breaker Bay Rd is expected to open to traffic around 4pm today. Crews are out clearing remaining driftwood, gravel and debris across the coastline, including from Owhiro Bay to Breaker Bay and Karaka Bay.

Residents of Owhiro Bay Parade say they got off lightly, and the damage was nowhere near as bad as last April, or the weather event of 2013.

A section of Owhiro Bay Parade was closed, where contractors were clearing sand and debris from the road following last night’s wild weather.

One resident was sweeping out his garage, while another home appeared to have its front fence damaged by heavy swell.

Jo Bushe said the waves were coming from a different direction this time, but there were still four or five low-lying homes that may have been affected.

She said some of the residents living right on Owhiro Bay Parade had moved elsewhere for the night.

Sandbags and boards could still be seen outside homes on Owhiro Bay Parade, used to prepare for the impact of last night’s forecasted swells.

Resident Dave Shoemack said it had been a windy night, but probably worse at about this time yesterday.

“It was good this time because there was a lot of warning,” he said.

“A lot of people put up the boardings this time.” He didn’t believe there was any real damage to his section of the street.

Residents in Lyall Bay were also out on Wednesday morning surveying the damage.

Lyall Bay resident Zita Papp said the wind had been so strong last night they were worried it would break the windows.

Owhiro Bay resident Kristen Meads said debris such as sand, pebbles and seaweed had blown up onto their driveway, however it wasn’t as bad as last year.

Meads said that no large objects such as logs or driftwood had come onto their property and that from what she knew no other houses were damaged.

“Most of us had a little bit of water in our front yard, I think one house [had] water come up to their front door but no damage like last year at all.”

She said she’s thankful for the work the community has done.

“We make sure we are checking in on each other and helping each other out with any necessary preparations and keeping each other informed.”

The flow of information from council relating to the event has been better than other incidents in the past Meads said.

A Wellington City Council spokesperson told the Herald they will be keeping an eye on the next high tide tonight, just before 10pm, but the large waves are subsiding.

A few properties in Owhiro Bay were hit by large waves this morning at high tide, with Fire and Emergency crews having to pump water out of one house. Breaker Bay properties are all in tact, the Council said.

“A lot of people are putting in the hard yards this morning and overnight. I think there will be quite a few people ready to have a sleep,” said spokesperson Richard MacLean.

Earlier: Southerly swells hammer coast

Earlier today large southerly 6.5m swells had pummeled the shoreline, with forecasters revealed they were dwarfed by a towering 15m wave which came crashing onto the Baring Head buoy at the entrance to Wellington Harbour last night.

After surveying the overnight damage Baxter said he was taking a precautionary approach to the emergency as swells continued to roll in along the capital’s southern coast.

Owhiro Bay Parade to the west of the bridge would also remain closed to all but residents’ traffic this morning while the roadway was cleared.

Relieved residents of Owhiro Bay Parade returned home this morning, saying they got off lightly, and the damage was nowhere near as bad as last April, or the weather event of 2013.

Sandbags and boards could still be seen on homes on Owhiro Bay Parade, used to prepare for the impact of last night’s forecasted swells.

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