Strong winds buffet Southland

High winds in Southland caused vehicles and trees to blow over and a state highway to close for a few hours on Friday. 

MetService had forecast northwest gales with gusts reaching 130km/h in exposed places in Southland, as well as Stewart Island, Fiordland and Otago until 11pm. 

Police advised road users throughout the Southern District to take care due to gale-force winds and the Southland District Council advised SH97 was closed late afternoon. 

A campervan blew over while travelling on the Mossburn to Five Rivers Rd (SH97) about 2pm but the two occupants were not hurt.

About the same time, a truck rolled over near the intersection of Hillas Rd and Mossburn to Five Rivers Rd but the driver was not injured, police said.

The highway was shut from 2.55pm but reopened at 6.35pm as the wind had eased.

But motorists, especially those with high-sided vehicles including caravans and campervans, should use extreme caution while driving in the area.

Meanwhile, Wreys Bush Mossburn Rd is closed between Cemetery Rd and Chewings Rd after large trees were blown across the road this afternoon. 

Contractors were on site but it would take time to clear the trees.

The council said it had also received reports of trees blown down across Wairio Wreys Bush Rd.

Drivers were advised to drive to the conditions and be wary of trees and debris across the roads.

- ODT Online 



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