Wild weather hammers South

Wild weather was blamed for the collapse of part of this building facade on Tay St in...
Wild weather was blamed for the collapse of part of this building facade on Tay St in Invercargill today.
A predicted southerly front has wreaked havoc in the South today, causing damage to buildings, power cuts and an early end to the Bluff Oyster Festival.

Power has been out in parts of Dunedin this afternoon and evening - including in Mosgiel, Outram and parts of Waldronville, and the road between Green Island and Waldronville is reportedly closed.

A street light was blown off a power pole in Mornington, resulting in a two-hour outage there.

A woman was injured when a tree fell on her car at Puddle Alley near Mosgiel about 4pm, Fairfax media reports.

The woman was hospitalised with minor neck injuries.

Inland, Millers Flat, Lawrence and Milton residents have also had spells without power today.

In Invercargill, the collapse of a building facade on Tay St just before 2pm was thought to be weather related, Southern District Command Centre deployment coordinator Dave Scott said.

No-one was injured when part of the brickwork on the front of the Work and Income building came down.

Meanwhile, about 1pm two occupants of a south-bound car called for help after the vehicle became entrapped in power lines which had broken due to strong winds.

Police said State Highway 1 between Bluff and Invercargill was closed as a result of that incident, which coincided with the early closure of the Oyster festival.

The festival was closed due to the adverse weather conditions and the road closure meant traffic attempting to leave Bluff were unable to, resulting in congestion and lengthy traffic delays.

Linsemen had since fixed the downed power lines and State Highway 1 was reopened about 3pm.

Power cuts have also been reported in Dunedin, where strong winds and hail hit mid-afternoon.

At Milford, the New Zealand Transport Agency has advised State Highway 94 between Te Anau and Milford Sound will be closed between Hollyford and The Chasm due to snow.

The agency has also advised caution for motorists travelling on State Highway 1 between Dunedin and Gore; State Highway 8 from Raes Junction to Milton; and State Highway 90 from Raes Junction to Mcnab due to strong winds, with extra care advised for motorcyclists, caravans and high-sided vehicles.

The Metservice issued a Severe Weather Watch for Otago and Southland, predicting a period of northwest gales this afternoon, but particularly northwest gales inland tomorrow and southwest gales about the coasts tomorrow night.

A cold outbreak is expected to spread over the south tomorrow afternoon and evening, with snow predicted to low levels in Southland and Otago.

"While significant accumulations are expected above 500m, snow is forecast to near sea level [on] Sunday evening.

"People in these areas are advised to keep up-to-date with forecasts in case further warnings are necessary," the Metservice said.

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