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Strong winds are buffeting parts of the South today resulting in cancelled flights and a warning to motorists using several state highways telling them to drive to the conditions.
MetService says a warm front is expected to move eastwards across the lower South Island, delivering a period of strong northwesterly winds.
Severe gales gusting up to 120kmh were likely for Fiordland and Southland, including Stewart Island until about 8pm today.
Cross-winds were preventing flights from landing in Dunedin, impacting both departing and arriving flights, an airport employee said.
The Otago Daily Times understands two flights to Auckland and Wellington have been cancelled.
- For information on flights check here.
A reporter at Dunedin Airport said more than 60 passengers were lining up at the customer service desk.
A post to the Dunedin Airport Facebook page said inbound flight NZ675 from Auckland had been redirected to Christchurch because of strong winds.
This affected outbound flight NZ674 scheduled to depart to Auckland at 2.55pm was cancelled, it said.
Clutha, Southern Lakes, Central Otago and the Canterbury High Country from Arthur's Pass southwards remain under a strong wind watch, which may see severe gales in exposed places at times until 1am on Saturday.
Strong wind gusts could damage trees, powerlines and unsecured structures. Driving may be hazardous, especially for high-sided vehicles and motorcycles.
The New Zealand Transport Agency this afternoon advised road users to take care on these state highways:
• SH 1 Gore to Dunedin
• SH8 Milton to Raes Junction
• SH85 Kyeburn to Palmerston
• SH87 Kyeburn to Outram
• SH90 Raes Junction to Mcnab
• SH80 Pukaki to Aorangi/Mt Cook
• SH94 Mossburn to Te Anau
Meanwhile, the Milford Road (SH94) will close at 4.30pm today at Holyford, and the Chasm at 5pm, due to a warm front that will stall over Fiordland into tomorrow.
The front will bring lots of warm rain to an unstable snowpack - increasing the risk of avalanche.
MetService meteorologist Lewis Ferris said hot air blowing across the Tasman from South Australia will see temperatures rise in New Zealand from today.
The warm weather will continue into next week, especially in eastern areas as a general northwest flow hangs over the country.
Strong winds are buffeting parts of the South today, with road users on several state highways warned to take care and drive to the conditions.