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Metservice has warned some parts of Otago will be hit by gusts of up to 130kmh between 9am and 6pm today.
''These wind gusts have the potential to damage trees and power lines and create difficult driving conditions.''
The NZ Transport Agency has issued a wind warning for State Highway 87 between Kyeburn and Middlemarch, saying extra care is required those driving campervans and other high-sided vehicles and motorcyclists.
The northwest winds would also push up daytime temperatures along the east coast, with 15degC highs predicted for the next few days and 18degC on Friday in Dunedin.
The high winds were the result of a disturbed northwest flow expected to cover the country today, which would also bring heavy rain to Fiordland, Westland and the headwaters of Otago's lakes.
''People in these areas should be aware rivers could rise rapidly and there is the possibility of slips and surface flooding.''
Although the wind and rain should ease late tonight or early tomorrow, further warnings for heavy rain and damaging winds were likely later in the week, the MetService said.