High winds batter South Island
Wild weather is starting to set in across the South Island, with trees uprooted on the West Coast and power lines coming down in Clutha.
However, the rest of New Zealand won't escape, as heavy winds were expected to lash the country not just today, but through into the weekend, MetService severe weather forecaster Gerard Barrow said.
Heavy rain is expected around the West Coast over the next few days with Buller and northwest Nelson looking likely to be hit by showers and strong northerlies from Thursday to Saturday.
Police were alerted early this morning to a number of trees being uprooted on the West Coast town of Whataroa, police southern communications shift commander Peter Hegarty said.
Power lines had also come down on the Clutha Bridge. Hegarty understood the power company responsible for the Southland area was already at the scene.
MetService warned that gales could reach 120 kmh and make driving hazardous in Southland and Otago.
A strong northwesterly which intensified over night was expected to bring strong winds to much of the country, especially in eastern areas south of Wairarapa, Barrow said.
This latest spell set in overnight and could continue throughout the week and into the weekend.
MetService also warned that Otago and Canterbury lakes and rivers may rise and for people in these areas to be cautious.
The rain would continue until Saturday and MetService said people in affected regions should look out for rapidly rising rivers and streams, and possible localised surface flooding and slips.
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