Trees toppled in Clutha, snow warnings for South

Heavy winds are toppling trees in the Clutha District tonight, prompting a warning from the council to take care on roads and avoid any unnecessary travel.

Wild weather battered parts of the South today and a snow warning had been issued for some roads. 

In a Facebook post tonight, Otago Civil Defence and Emergency Management advised MetService had issued a warning for severe south to south-west gales in coastal Clutha tonight, gusting up to 120kmh, and a watch for severe gales in Dunedin and North Otago overnight.

A spokeswoman for the Clutha District Council said people were calling tonight to report trees down in strong winds.

Contractors have crews on standby to deal with callouts. However, due to the dangerous conditions, they may not be able to move fallen trees until tomorrow morning, she said.

"Please avoid all unnecessary travel and stay off the roads if you can.  There could be debris on the roads and drivers need to be vigilant."

People could report any issues to the council by ringing 0800 801 350. 

MetService warned the present weather system may bring snow to some southern roads from tonight.

A spokesman said snow showers were expected to affect the summit of the Milford Road (State Highway 94) between 10pm today and 6am tomorrow.

"Up to 2cm of snow may settle near the summit of the road.''

Snow showers were also expected to affect higher parts of the Crown Range road tomorrow, between midday and 6pm.

Wild winds up to 140kmh would continue to batter Stewart Island, coastal Southland and Clutha, and may continue in exposed places through to Thursday afternoon.

For the remainder of Southland, Fiordland, and Otago, winds may approach severe gale in exposed places at times during today and tomorrow, he said.

Meanwhile, Hawea residents were left without power for part of the day, as the New Zealand Transport Authority issued a high wind warning for Central Otago.

Aurora Energy said customers in Hawea did not have electricity in mid-afternoon and a response crew was sent.

Southern power company PowerNet also reported several outages on its website including in Southern Wyndham and Waitahuna.

NZTA had issued strong wind warnings between Twizel and Fairlie, Ben Ohau and Mt Cook, and Ikawai and Kurow.

Earlier, warnings went out for the Milton to Gore area, including the Clutha district, Twizel to the Lindis Pass, and Omarama to Pukeuri.

Extra care was needed in those areas - especially for motorists with high-sided vehicles and motorbikes. 

- additional reporting by Elena McPhee and John Lewis 





The wind is not too bad in Hawea today, sun is out and not a bad day. Yes the power was off for a couple of hours but we believe a digger may have cut a cable rather than the weather.






Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter