A woman was almost crushed by a toppled shipping container as
wind gusts of up to 120kmh wreaked havoc across the South at
The high winds returned last night, along with hail and snow
showers, and conditions are only expected to get colder, with
severe frosts predicted.
Temperatures tonight are tipped to fall to below freezing in
many places - including -13degC in Queenstown.
On Saturday, Ploni White was helping take items out of her
family's container when a gust ripped through Ravensbourne
with such force a nearby container began to fall towards her.
''It missed me by inches.''
She crawled from behind the wreckage to discover her
granddaughter sitting nearby in her pram - unscathed.
''If it had fallen any other way, we both could have been
The storm brought strong winds and heavy rain to Dunedin
about 3pm as the first cold blast of the year hit the South.
About 5mm of rain fell in half an hour and temperatures
plummeted 10degC within minutes, from a high of 17degC.
The quick change felled trees and power lines, caused sports
matches to be called off - including a premature end for all
five Dunedin premier rugby matches - and left surface
flooding around the city.
Emergency services were inundated with calls as strong winds
brought down power lines and damaged poles, while power
authorities scrambled to restore electricity to 1790 Dunedin
Last night, 157 homes and businesses were still without
power, even though additional lines workers were brought in
from Central Otago yesterday to assist Dunedin crews with
''As severe weather conditions continue, consumers should be
prepared in the event of further power outages overnight,''
Delta general manager asset management Derek Todd said.
The outages were one of the most significant storm-related
events in recent years, he said.
Crews were working as fast and as safely as they could to
restore power to the remaining consumers still without it, he
Last night, the Ice Stadium, in Victoria Rd, and the Edgar
Centre, in Portsmouth Dr, lost power, interrupting an ice
hockey game and delaying the Steel versus Tactix netball
Customers supplied by PowerNet in Southland and South Otago
also experienced outages but most were fixed by yesterday. No
further details were available last night.
The rough weather caused some flights to be delayed at
Dunedin International Airport.
Last night, snow showers fell in Dunedin's hill suburbs, with
MetService issuing a warning for snow and strong winds down
to 500m in Otago and Southland, especially for the inland
hills and the Catlins, to early this morning. Lesser amounts
were expected down to 100m or 200m.
In Queenstown, steady rain fell yesterday, causing some
surface flooding. Snow fell on skifields. Flights at
Queenstown Airport were affected, with at least one inbound
flight from Christchurch, at 8.20am, forced to turn back.
Queenstown Lakes District Council contractors cleared a slip
yesterday near the halfway lookout on Glenorchy Rd, with the
road reopened yesterday.
Coronet Peak ski area manager Ross Copland said his staff
were ''pretty happy'' with what the southerly front
delivered, given the field was due to open on June 7.
The MetService estimated 13cm of natural snow fell at Coronet
during the weekend, with more likely today. About 14cm fell
at the Remarkables.
The high winds on Saturday caused problems around Dunedin. A
vessel being repaired by the Ravensbourne Boating Club was
blown over and Ravensbourne fire brigade members helped
secure a yacht which slipped its moorings.
Another vessel dragged its line and drifted in the channel
before it was retrieved. Emergency services were inundated
with calls, including a woman suffering minor injuries when
her vehicle hit a downed tree on Puddle Alley.
Outram residents Matthew and Angela Young told the Otago
Daily Times the power cut came minutes after the storm.
It meant the family's only heating, a heatpump, was put out
Their biggest concern was how to keep their home and 5
month-old baby boy, Oliver, warm.
On Saturday night, Oliver was wrapped in extra merino layers
and woollen blankets as the temperature inside the brick home
dropped to a single digit. Power was restored at 10.30am
Further south, gusts caused bricks to fall off the facade of
the Work and Income building in Tay St, Invercargill, about
2pm. The Bluff Oyster and Food Festival was cancelled about
1pm because of heavy winds and traffic being caught up in a
road closure caused by downed power lines.
Festival spokesman Lindsay Beer said organisers were
disappointed about having to call off the event, as many
people had travelled to take part.
A car became entangled in fallen power lines on State Highway
1 between Bluff and Invercargill about 1pm. The occupants
remained in the vehicle and called for help.
No-one was injured but the road was closed for about two
hours as linemen fixed the power lines, and large lines of
waiting vehicles formed.
MetService forecast for Otago
Today: Conditions becoming clear as the cold southwest
and gale winds die out. Temperature highs range from 3degC in
the Queenstown Lakes district to 7degC in Dunedin.
Tomorrow: Severe morning frosts and fine weather with
northwesterlies developing. A low of -13degC predicted for
Queenstown; -11degC for Alexandra; -8degC for Wanaka.
Temperature highs of between 3degC in the Queenstown Lakes
district and 9degC in Dunedin.
Roads closed last night
Snow: SH93 Mataura to Clinton, SH94 Te Anau to
Milford, SH87 Mosgiel to Kyeburn. Milford Rd, Te Anau to
Power lines down: Brighton Rd, Dunedin
Snow chains required: Crown Range, Cardrona Valley Rd,
Dunedin power outages
Power now restored
Mornington: From 3pm-5pm Saturday, affecting 482
Outram: From 3pm Saturday to 1pm yesterday, affecting
Outram: From 3pm Saturday to 10.30am Sunday, affecting
East Taieri: From 4.45pm-7.15pm Saturday, affecting 18
consumers. East Taieri: From 4.45pm Saturday for five
minutes; again at 7.10pm, for all 415 consumers.
Port Chalmers: From 4.30pm Saturday to 3.30pm Sunday,
affecting 46 consumers.
Berwick: From 3pm-7pm Saturday, affecting 211
Power not restored.
Waldronville: From 3pm Saturday (restored to 367
consumers by 5.15pm Saturday); 100 still without power last
Cape Saunders: From 3.15pm Saturday; 47 consumers
still without power last night.
Berwick: From 3pm Saturday; 10 consumers still without
power last night.
There have also been isolated outages for individual
consumers throughout Dunedin caused by damage to service