Wild winds have lifted roofs and felled trees across the region, leaving one Nelson woman with a smashed car and a lucky escape.
Minutes after Jo Flemming parked her Nissan Maxima in the driveway of her Toi Toi home a wind gust tore a manuka tree out of the ground and dumped it onto the car's roof, smashing the back windscreen and denting panels.
"It's lucky no-one was in it," Mrs Flemming said.
"I had just got the groceries out of the boot before the tree came down on the roof.
"I wouldn't want my husband coming home and finding me squashed in the driveway."
Despite facing a $400 insurance excess bill, Mrs Flemming could still see the funny side. "Now I might have a convertible for Christmas."
She said Nelson firefighters responded only five minutes after she called them, and, using their chainsaws, cleared the tree off the car and out of her driveway.
Motueka volunteer firefighters responded to 10 callouts in an hour yesterday afternoon, to lifting roofs and falling trees, said chief fire officer Mike Riddell.
"It was all over the place - Moutere, Riwaka and Motueka. There was no major damage - mainly just trees into power lines.
"We've had wind before, but that was exceptional and blowing from the north which was unusual.
"Even driving to work this morning there were bits of trees all over the place," Mr Riddell said.
This morning retailers were sweeping tree debris off High St's footpaths. Parts of many roads were littered with carpets of blossoms, small branches and leaves.
Network Tasman chief executive Wayne Mackey said wind and lightning caused power outages across the district.
Power was cut to 1112 consumers in Kaiteriteri, Marahau and Riwaka at 3.50pm when a tree in Main Rd, Riwaka, was blown across the line, he said. Power was restored by 5.05pm.
At 4.38pm, 1462 customers in central Motueka lost supply when another tree brought lines down on Old Wharf Rd.
Most customer supplies were restored by 5.30pm but 122 remained off in Old Wharf Rd and Motueka Quay until line repairs were made, Mr Mackey said.
Mr Mackey said customers in the Murchison and Tapawera supply areas may have experienced a number of brief supply interruptions, due to lightning strikes.
"A small number of individual consumers remained off overnight and these will be repaired today," he said.
Nelson Fire Service station officer Darren Shackleton said city firefighters received about 10 calls for assistance between midday and early evening yesterday.
The high winds caused arcing power lines in at least three central Nelson streets, Mr Shackleton said.
General manager of Nelson Electricity, Phil Goodall, confirmed there was an arcing line in Riverside Dr about 5.20pm, but said the Nelson Electricity network avoided serious damage or power outages, because most of their lines were underground.
Across the country yesterday, gusts of up to 170kmh tore through Otago, Canterbury, and Marlborough, before moving on to Wellington, Wairarapa, and the lower North Island, leaving about 1900 homes without electricity.
The winds eased overnight, but they were replaced by heavy rain sweeping across the east of the country today, said MetService.
- © Fairfax NZ News