Wild weather is starting to set in down south, with trees uprooted on the West Coast and power lines down in Clutha.
The rest of New Zealand would not escape as heavy winds were expected to lash the country not just today but into the weekend, MetService severe-weather forecaster Gerard Barrow said.
Police were alerted early today to several trees being uprooted in 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 Southland was at the scene.
A heavy-rain warning has been issued for the headwaters of Canterbury lakes and rivers, as well as a strong wind warning for Canterbury.
Rain is expected to become heavy this afternoon.
In the 21 hours from 3pm, MetService said, Cantabrians could expect about 180 millimetres on the Main Divide, with over 70mm within 20 kilometres east of the divide.
Another significant period of heavy rain was likely on Saturday.
Northwesterly gales were expected to hit Canterbury today and tomorrow, with severe gale gusts of 120kmh possible between 6pm and noon tomorrow, mainly about inland areas of the region.
Christchurch can expect a fine day with a high of 18 degrees Celsius and strong northwesterlies.
MetService said people in affected regions should look out for rapidly rising rivers and streams, and possible flooding and slips.
Heavy rain was expected on the West Coast over the coming days. About 150mm to 200mm was likely in Westland and Fiordland from today until tomorrow.
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