Flights cancelled as 144kmh winds slam Wellington

Planes and ferries have been cancelled in Wellington as gusts of more than 144kmh slam the lower North Island. Five arrivals to Wellington Airport have been cancelled so far, including one from Queenstown and one from Rotorua.

Five departures from the airport had also been cancelled, and other flights were delayed or diverted to Palmerston North and Paraparaumu.

An Air New Zealand spokeswoman confirmed the numerous delays in and out of Wellington Airport were caused by the wind. She could not say how many passengers were affected.

A Wellington Airport spokeswoman said international flights were operating as normal.

The airport would be updating travellers throughout the day.

Wellington's East by West ferry has cancelled its Seatoun service and restricted sailings to Eastbourne. Ferries now leave Wellington for Eastbourne at 4.30pm, 5.30pm, and 6.30pm.

An Interislander spokesperson said ferries were running to schedule but, with winds of more than 135kmh in Cook Strait, passengers were having to stay inside.

"With these extremely high winds, as a safety precaution, we have closed off the outside deck [and] viewing  areas to ensure passenger safety," Interislander general manager Mark Thompson said.

Bluebridge ferries were also sailing on time.

NZTA has a wind warning out for the State Highway 2 Rimutaka Hill Rd and says motorcycles and high-sided vehicles should take extra care on the winding route between Wairarapa and Hutt Valley.

MetService data shows that Mt Kaukau above Wellington gusted to 135kmh on Friday morning, while Kelburn reached 130kmh, the Rimutaka summit reached 144kmh, and Wellington Airport reached 102kmh.

MetService has a warning for severe northwest gales for Wellington through Friday.

The Fire Service had been called to getaway roofing iron and a blown away trampoline in the Hutt Valley suburb of Wainuiomata.

 - Stuff