Heavy downpours and extreme winds are causing havoc around
the South Island.
Bucketing rain, accompanied by thunderstorms, drenched
Westland and Fiordland for much of today.
Met Service said the wet weather, which has eased slightly in
Fiordland, was expected to hang around Westland for most of
The region, along with the headwaters of the Canterbury
Lakes, had been slapped with a heavy rain warning by Met
Between 80 mm to 100mm of rainfall was expected in the two
areas over the next 12 hours, the forecaster warned.
People should be wary of river levels and the possibly of
surface flooding and slips, Met Service said.
In Canterbury, trees and power lines were bowled over in
severe gales - sparking one large scrub fire and reported
Fire Service southern communications shift manager Karl
Patterson said downed powerlines had caused a significant
fire near Wakanui Beach, Ashburton.
"We've got two to three hectares of planation burning there
at the moment."
Seven trucks had been sent to the fire, Mr Patterson said.
Several smaller scrub fires had also occurred in the McLeans
Island area near the airport.
The Fire Service had attended at least 20-weather related
calls, all due to strong winds, in the South Island since
12pm, Mr Patterson said.
Fallen power lines were also reported to have caused power
outages to parts of Christchurch today.
In addition to this, police said felled trees had also
blocked Johns Rd - between Sawyers Arms Rd and Gardiners Rd -
in the city.
A spokeswoman said while the road was open, motorists should
"It's a bit messy down there."
Further north, fallen trees were also causing delays on Omihi
Rd in the Waipara district, she said.
Police have advised motorists to take extra care on the roads
- particularly with gusts of up to 120 km/h being forecast in
Those in Wairarapa and Wellington have also been warned about
strong gales through the night.
"Gusts of around 120 km/h could affect exposed areas," Met
"Winds of this strength could bring down trees and
powerlines. They could also make driving hazardous,
especially for high sided vehicles and motorcycles."
- Teuila Fuatai