July 23, 2008

Beach Alert As High Sea Forecast

HUGE swells forecast for the North Island's west coast have led to warnings to stay off beaches.

Storm surges and high swells are forecast to peak about midday today, especially along the Kapiti and Taranaki coastline. Kapiti Coast District Council has warned people with houses near the beach, particularly in Raumati and Raumati South, to be on guard. People should stay off beaches between 9am and 3pm, council emergency manager Don McGuire said.

A combination of high tide, southwest and northwesterly swells and strong winds could produce waves up to five metres, which could affect sand dunes and sea walls along the south of the coastline, he said. Council staff would monitor conditions.

"There is no concern for alarm as the forecast conditions may not eventuate. However, we considered it best to give people on the coast a heads up," he said.

MetService marine forecaster Paula Umbers said there would be high swells off the top of the South Island right up the west coast to the North Cape.

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